From the Experts!
“One of my projects entailed helping an American company which develops logistics software for tracking fresh produce find partners/distributors in France… Finally, when I had received at least three positive responses, I would then write a short report on each company which would at last be sent to the American business so they could seek a partnership on their own based on our research. Besides working on this project, I also had the opportunity to attend several tradeshows including SIAL (the world’s largest agro-alimentation industry show), CARTES (for card manufacturers), and a show for Tourism Bureaus.
Getting to attend the trade shows was definitely an enriching experience. There is such a buzz of activity in the air as people the world over descend on Paris to exchange contact information and expand their businesses. Attending these events as VIPs was like taking a field-trip outside the office, and the best one was SIAL, where I got to taste food from all over the world and talk to interesting people from everywhere from Tunisia to Austria to Mexico to Japan.
Lastly, working at the embassy, interns are often asked to volunteer at official events, usually at the ambassador’s residence. Some such examples in which I participated were the annual 4th of July Party and the Post-Election Breakfast (it was morning in Paris when the American presidential election results were announced in the United States). You are on duty at these events, but without exception, they serve more as a way for you to see the glamorous world of statecraft galas, and there is always free food and famous people.” Eddie Carlin, fall 2012 intern for the U.S. Commercial Service in Paris
“For the Fourth of July, all the interns were invited to volunteer at the party the Ambassador hosted at his residence. The French Minister of Defense came, the first time a French Minister had ever come to a Fourth of July celebration hosted by the Embassy. As volunteers, we scanned barcodes on invitations, helped direct guests through the Residence to the garden in back, and just generally helped things run smoothly. The next week, I had the opportunity to attend UNESCO’s Fourth of July celebration in the historic Talleyrand Building at the Place de la Concorde. This was an incredible experience—I had often walked through the plaza and wondered what it was like on the inside of the buildings; now I was attending a reception there. I [also] got to go to a tradeshow in early June and see the Commercial “in action,” and I wish I could have gone to more.
Working at the Commercial Service has been an immensely rewarding experience—I’ve learned to work in a government office, how to conduct myself in a professional manner with people from different cultures, as well as a lot of what our government does to help American businesses. It is hard to pinpoint any one single experience as the most rewarding part of the summer, but sitting across the table from Ambassador Rivkin at the Intern Day at the Embassy, as he took time out of his busy schedule to explain the impact that the interns have on the day-to-day functioning of the Embassy would definitely be high on my list. Working on endless market briefs can be boring, but listening to Ambassador Rivkin talk reminded me that this is work that needs to be done so that the Embassy can function.” Abigail Farmer, summer 2012 intern for the U.S. Commercial Service in Paris
“During my time at the U.S. Commercial Service in Paris, I worked on several projects, namely the organization of the U.S. Pavilion at the JEC 2012 Europe Composites Trade Show. I was in charge of communicating with U.S. exhibitors as well as organizing databases for the Industry Focused Promotion service given by the U.S. Commercial Service. I also designed the brochures and cocktail reception invitations for the event, selected furniture and amenities according to the given budget, and designed the layout of the U.S. Pavilion for the coming year. I also conducted market research, synthesizing French market reports into English market briefs. I attended meetings between trade specialists and potential clients as well as conference calls between other trade specialists around the globe.
My best experience was working at the JEC trade show, where I maintained the U.S. Pavilion and assisted the exhibitors and my supervisor with their needs in order for the show to run smoothly. It was a fast-paced environment and it was great for getting exposure to international trade shows.” -Marcelo Giovannetti, spring 2012 intern for the U.S. Commercial Service in Paris
“During the Paris Air Show I was assigned to be the special attaché to Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nicole Lamb-Hale. I shadowed her during her meetings with American companies like Boeing and Pratt-Whitney, and during trade talks with representatives of Japan and the United Kingdom.
I lived with a French host family, a middle aged couple with four children, in their apartment in the 16th Arrondissement of Paris. As I spoke French at work and returned home to speak more French with the parents and kids, the immersion was nearly constant and extremely beneficial to my language skills.
Through PPIP I gained hands-on experience in my planned career field, a first-hand education that went further than anything learned in a classroom. It was a pivotal event in my academic career that will shape my future educational and professional decisions.” -Jonathan Christ, summer 2011 intern for the U.S. Commercial Service in Paris
“My favorite part of the internship was working at the embassy. I had the opportunity to attend several meetings with people such as Charles Rivkin, the Ambassador to France and Monaco and David Kinson, the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency. There were exciting events such as the visit of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and the Michael Kors launch party at the ambassador’s residence. The embassy also had fun events such as wine tasting nights, a chili cook-off and an Easter egg hunt. It was a special community and I felt privileged to get to be a part of it during my internship. Working at the embassy gave me a close-up look into government departments and agencies that would otherwise not be accessible.” -Kelley Randazzo, spring 2011 intern for the U.S. Commercial Service in Paris
“Upon arriving to the office I was assigned to a four month project-the same amount of time I had signed up for to do the internship. The project, thought highly commercial in nature, also had aspects of my interest. I was assigned to work on an Environmental Trade show that would be taking place in Lyon in early December. We were to be working with a U.S. Delegation of Economic Development Organizations who were coming to explore the international offer. I would also be helping to plan and recruit 9 speakers, focused in clean tech research and technology to speak at two conferences we were helping to organize.
Throughout this internship I got to work with countless french government officials, french companies, American government, and American Private sector as well. This was quite the learning experience and a insight into the process of red tape, organizations working together, and the importance of international collaboration.” -Alex Harwell, fall 2010 intern or the U.S. Commercial Service in Paris