This summer, six Stephens College School of Design students participated in a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a five-week internship and study abroad program in Paris and Marseille, France.
“Most Stephens students want to study abroad, but they aren’t sure they will be able to afford a full-year or semester program,” said Dr. Jim Terry, an art history professor who traveled with the student group that also consisted of University of Missouri students and Dr. Dan Sipe, a MU French professor. “A five-week summer internship program like this is a great solution.”
During the E=i²(Educational Internships International) program, students work in internships with French companies and organizations four days a week, then spend one day a week in the classroom studying international business or art history, he explained.
He said that students benefit in multiple ways from the program: They fulfill their internship requirement for their degree program, receive course credit, and become immersed in the French language — “all while getting a fabulous cultural program.”
Olivia Bashaw ’19 (pictured right at Cassis), an apparel studies senior, has received her first taste of working retail this summer as an intern with Morgan De Toi, at the biggest Morgan store in the south of France, in Aix-en-Provence.
“I’m improving my French by interacting with the majority of my customers in French,” she said. “I've learned I'm a great vendeuse [saleswoman] and great at upselling.”
Bashaw is a recipient of the Sara Herrnstadt Crosby ’76 and Daniel Crosby Scholarship, which helps make study abroad programs financially possible for Stephens students. Crosby is a Stephens alumna and current member of the Board of Trustees.
“I am endlessly thankful that she helped provide this opportunity for me,” she said. “Her generosity has given me one of the best experiences of my life.”
The group also consisted of Stephens students Catherine Hake ’19, Ella Shirk ’19, Sydney Bias ’18, who graduates this December, and recent May graduate Laura Thorp ’18 and August graduate Rachael Ramirez ’18. (Pictured right: Ella Shirk ’19 and Catherine Hake ’19 on the Seine.)
The abroad experience also has included weekend visits to Arles and Aix en Provence, and in Marseille, boat excursions, hikes in the national park, museum visits, among other activities.
Ramirez, who has been interning with Groupe IFC, a company in Marseille, said her most memorable moment was watching the World Cup at the home of five students.
“It was an amazing experience because, of course, France won and afterward we were able to go out and celebrate, watch fireworks and see people storm the streets,” she said.
Ramirez sees herself working in international business after completing graduate school.
“I want to continue to improve my French-speaking abilities and develop a better understanding of international business and how the difference in cultures affect the way you work,” she said.
Shirk, a graphic designer major, has been interning with Art’Chi, an interior design firm and contracting company where she creates website elements such as logos, web banners, favicons and brand guides.
She said that she’s made many new professional connections that are sure to benefit her throughout her career. The Stephens senior will graduate in May 2019 from Stephens and plans to then work in a design firm, with the ultimate goal of creative director.
“This internship is an incredible learning opportunity,” Shirk said. “The ability to live and work in a culture that is totally different from your own is such a unique experience and each day provides a new lesson.”
Ella Shirk ’19 and Gary the cat at her internship.
Tags : Student Success, School of Design
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