Week 6 | Checking In

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Overall, my workload and the amount of time I spend for my internship has remained fairly consistent. At this point it seems as though my supervisor is confident in my skills and feels comfortable enough to let me work independently with less instruction. Lately I have been working on finding helpful external resources. While we initially discussed creating our own pedagogical materials, realizing how timely it may be has forced us to rethink that plan and instead use materials that already exist. For the most part, there is not too much interaction outside of our meetings twice a week. However, if I have any questions or would like feedback/ approval on something, then I reach out in a message which is typically met by a prompt (considering the time difference) response. To avoid having to reach out, though, I have been writing down any ideas/questions and keeping track of helpful resources I find online, to share during our virtual meetings. The only real obstacle that has come up so far is the time difference; with daylight savings (something my home state does not follow) my supervisor’s schedule is changing a bit while mine remains the exact same. On top of that, during our meetings it is usually the morning for me and the evening for my supervisor, so I try to be mindful of the difference in energy levels. While it is not an obstacle we can remove, it is one we simply work around by being conscious of each other’s energy and availability.
Over the past weeks my initial perceptions of the business seem to hold up; the business is definitely growing as my supervisor continues to work with clients and is also working on important contracts. I now see how the business can be beneficial on a greater scale; not only can expatriates benefit but immigrants too, and others who need help adjusting to the new culture. I believe the services can even be extended to, if they wanted it, tourists/ visitors who may need support in order to comfortably interact with others around France, while understanding the cultural expectations. In terms of how the business operates, I have trouble suggesting anything that should be done differently; most of the lessons and workshops would be in-person (and therefore more interactive) if it were not for the pandemic. With that in mind, though, the business can consider how to incorporate both virtual and in-person components moving forward, as well as how to continue using some of the digital resources being created/ used right now. Although in person workshops are more interactive, there is something to be said for the convenience of virtual lessons as children would naturally be more comfortable in a familiar space such as home.
Given my supervisor’s experience with foreigners (people not from France) and her patient nature, my work environment has been very positive, friendly, and welcoming. Furthermore, I feel genuinely appreciated as my supervisor often thanks me for my work. Before the internship, at the orientation, I was told that I may not actually hear compliments/ praise, since it is not necessarily common in French culture; so, it has been interesting and somewhat of a pleasant relief to have the opposite experience. In such a pleasant work environment I feel comfortable enough to continue working on my French and practicing it during our meetings. Furthermore, the work that I am doing in order to help others speak French, is also helping me in turn. I find that some of the online resources actually teach me a lot, which also tells me that they will be beneficial for clients who, like myself, are still learning French.