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IES: Rome Internship Program (Summer)
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Mirelle Hassler

Major: Communication Arts and Sciences
Minor: Media Studies
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I always knew that I wanted to study abroad, but when the time came I was really overwhelmed by the process and ultimate decision. I had no idea what steps to take first. I decided to start exploring and researching online. I typed “Penn State Study Abroad” into my google search engine and went from there. I ended up finding a lot of helpful information and steps through all the online outlets Penn State has to offer. I found my program through the study abroad search engine. I checked off all that I wanted in a study abroad program, and then explored and researched the choices that met all my desired criteria. I somehow found the perfect program for myself. The IES Abroad Rome Internship program offered classes and a guaranteed internship. They offered it in the summer and for the perfect amount of time: 8 weeks. The same program is available in a couple of other countries, but Italy was always my dream.

Taking the leap and studying abroad was the best decision of my life, and I’m so happy I ended up doing it.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I had the most amazing time ever while I was abroad. I took two classes in Rome, while also working 25 hours a week at the coolest company ever! I was terrified to go away without knowing anyone, but I ended up meeting some amazing people in my program. I lived with six girls in an apartment, which was tons of fun. The school I went to was awesome, and everyone who worked there was so welcoming and helpful. I worked for a company called LivItaly Tours and loved every second of it. My supervisor and coworkers were so nice! We all still keep in touch. On the weekends I was able to travel around Italy and other countries in Europe, so I ended up seeing a lot more than just Rome. Overall, taking the leap and studying abroad was the best decision of my life, and I’m so happy I ended up doing it.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience really solidified what I thought I wanted to do outside of college. Now, I’m 100% sure, and I don’t think I would have this confidence if I didn’t study abroad. This program was my first internship experience; prior to this, I had no real work experience with my major. I could never really picture where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do outside of college. This program clarified that for me. My academic career path is a lot more clear now. I also earned six credits, took two classes, learned some Italian, and improved my resume and experience.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

When I graduate from college, I would love to get a job working with the social media and marketing team of a company. That is what I did in Rome with LivItaly. They actually offered me a paid internship for Summer 2018, so I’m highly considering returning to Rome this summer and continuing to work for them. I would not have this opportunity to work for an international company if I had not participated in this program.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would 100% recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. It was the best decision of my life - academically, socially, and personally. The memories I made are going to be some of my most treasured. The adventures I took are unlike any I have taken to this day. The people I met taught me so much. Finally, the growing I did as a person would never have happened if I didn’t study abroad. I wish that everyone could have an experience like I did.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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