Study Abroad in Paris, France and Internships with the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network and the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps
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Juliana Viau

Paterno Fellow
Majors: English, French
Minor: International Studies
Hometown: Mullica Hill, New Jersey

How did you learn about these opportunities?

I discovered this program through the Global Programs office here at Penn State. My position as a Network Assistant for the Career Enrichment Network was offered to Liberal Arts Envoys, a student group that I am a part of here on campus. The tutoring internship I had with the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps was a requirement for my ENGL202H class.

Tell us a little bit about your experiences.

My study abroad experience impacted me most significantly in an academic sense, being that I am a French major and I studied in Paris. I took four classes with my program which was taught completely in French by all French professors. I took one of my French courses at the Sorbonne, which included all French students and professors.

“This study abroad experience allowed me to learn French in a completely different way than I had previously at Penn State.”

I worked as a Network Assistant at the Career Enrichment Network, mainly focusing on marketing and outreach projects but I also held open office hours for students to come in and find out what services the CEN offers. I helped promote career-related events on campus, internship opportunities, and enrichment funding. My main goal was to figure out ways to encourage Liberal Arts students to take advantage of programs, events, and information sessions that were career- or enrichment-related and to help them understand the breadth of opportunities they have in the College and at Penn State. 

Interning with the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps was certainly an eye-opening experience for me as a student. We tutored adults in a variety of situations – some were ESL learners, others were just now trying to receive their GED, and some were even trying to test for LPN or other basic examinations. This internship made me realize not only how fortunate I am to have such wonderful educational opportunities but also that not everyone learns at the same speed or even at the same time in their life. I also realized that at any moment our physical conditions can be jeopardized and our learning abilities may be taken away or severely changed.

How did these experiences impact you academically?

My study abroad experience impacted me academically in a significant way. In speaking with natives on a daily basis (I was not permitted to speak English to my host family) I acquired a larger vocabulary base and was able to speak more fluidly. I did not realize how much I improved until I returned to Penn State: in my two 400-level classes, I was able to answer questions and understand my professors very easily, which came as a surprise to me.

What are your career goals and plans? How did these experiences impact them?

My career goals range from editorial or publishing to working with an education-related nonprofit or in international relations or possibly even in marketing or communications. I also enjoy working with children and encouraging literacy and language education in that sense, so I may eventually get certified to teach.

“I would recommend interning because it makes you think on your feet and present yourself in a professional manner before you set out in the “real” job world.”

I would also like to use my French major and work in a field, perhaps governmental or cultural, that encourages exchange between France and the United States. I came to the understanding that LA students do not fall under the category of “I’m never going to get a job” but more under one that says “I just need to figure out how I can apply what I know in an interesting way and one that is most appealing to employers.”

Would you recommend these experiences to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend both studying abroad and interning to students of all majors. Both experiences were so enriching, and I cannot imagine having the same college experience without them. While studying abroad, I was exposed to a completely different culture and was faced with problems of what it is like to be an American abroad. Every day was a challenge in some aspect or another, because I could not resort to my first language in times of need. I had to figure everything out in a language I was not fluent in, which taught me a lot about myself and my learning abilities. It also opened my eyes so much to how other countries view the United States and how closed minded one can be without going abroad and seeing these other viewpoints. I think any student would benefit from this kind of learning. With an internship, it is possible to network and also gain strengths as a potential employee within a company.

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