A marketing and public relations internship with a small start-up company in Paris translated to work experiences that extend beyond typical “intern” duties for Taylor Odekirk, a marketing and journalism student from Waterloo, Iowa. Odekirk worked at Archive Valley, an online platform that connects people with archive resources from around the world. “A highlight of my internship was researching for the launch of Archive Valley’s public relations campaign,” said Odekirk. She found journalists, news outlets, magazines, and blogs that reach Archive Valley’s target audience of documentary filmmakers and content creators. She also had the opportunity to work with a freelance PR professional who helped her create story pitches and a press release to be used in the campaign. Learn more about Odekirk’s summer internship below.
What inspired you to seek an internship in Paris?
After studying French in high school, I became fascinated with French culture and always dreamed of studying abroad in Paris. As a double major in marketing and journalism, I knew it would be hard for me to do a semester length program, so going abroad during the summer was the right choice for me. When I learned about the IES Internships program, it was a perfect combination of what I was looking for: real work experience while living in Paris for eight weeks!
If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why?
I would definitely do my internship all over again. This program was unlike any other experience I’ve had as it forced me to speak a foreign language, navigate a new city, and adjust to living and working in one of the cultural centers of the world. I already can’t wait to visit Paris again.
What are some of your favorite experiences from your time in Paris?
Some of my favorite experiences included discovering Paris’s famous monuments, as well as the lesser-known parks and cafes scattered throughout the city. Viewing Monet’s sprawling water lily paintings at Musée de l’Orangerie is something I will never forget, and I equally won’t forget afternoons having a picnic in the picturesque Places de Vosges.
What are some highlights from your internship? Favorite learning experiences? Favorite moments?
A highlight of my internship was researching for the launch of Archive Valley’s public relations campaign. My research consisted of finding journalists, news outlets, magazines, and blogs that reach Archive Valley’s target audience of documentary filmmakers and content creators. I also had the opportunity to work with a freelance PR professional who helped us create story pitches and a press release to be used in the campaign—it was a great learning experience.
What did you gain on a personal level?
Personally, from this program I would say I have gained a lot of confidence in myself and my ability to kind of improvise and be confident in the moment. I’ve gained a lot of confidence from having to exercise my French language skills and also just being more adventurous – saying yes to opportunities that came up such as travel on the weekends, going out with new friends, and being able to say yes to new opportunities.
Did your internship influence your career goals?
It was a great learning experience. I feel a lot more confident going into interviewing for positions after college and being able to have some real-world experience to talk about—and not only that, but experience in another country which I think gives me more of a dimension of adaptability and being able to work with people from other cultures, too.
Would you encourage other UI students to intern abroad? Why/why not?
I would 100% encourage other UI students to intern abroad! This experience is unmatched when it comes to both personal and professional growth opportunities. If you’re looking to step outside your comfort zone, live in a foreign city, or gain valuable work experience, then a global internship is right for you!