Why did you decide to intern with Global Experiences? What did they do for you and what did you need to do on your own?
Miles: I decided to intern with Global Experiences (GE) for several reasons. The main reason is all of the services and the commitment to excellence that GE provides. I had to book my flight to Milan and fill out all the necessary paperwork that GE requests, but everything else is taken care of by their staff.
They took care of the housing, finding the internships, making sure we were set up in Milan and even took us on a few sponsored trips to Venice, Verona, and Lake Como. I also liked that they tailor the program to fit your interests, and they help you to achieve your goals.
For example, they work with you on your resume, cover letter, and provide a strengths test. Another reason was that I just wanted to intern abroad, I wanted to challenge myself with an experience of living in a country with a different language as I felt like I would learn a lot about myself.
Describe your favorite must-have food that you had abroad.
Miles: My favorite food that I had abroad was a baked spaghetti seafood dish. I affectionately called it “Seafood Surprise” as it was a bowl of spaghetti with all kinds of seafood in it, covered with a giant piece of dough and then baked.
To begin, you cut open the baked dough cover and pull it back. This exposes the bowl of spaghetti and seafood inside (usually one large shrimp/prawn, a lot of muscles, and then other various fresh "surprises"!)
Some days there was shrimp in it, and then other days there was squid. The combination of the various seafood items made the spaghetti sauce extra delicious, and the bread cover was great for cleaning your plate of sauce when you were done. And for dessert -- gelato!
Did you run into a language barrier?
Miles: Yes, I ran into a language barrier my first day in Italy. I had no prior training in Italian before traveling to Italy. I did have some Spanish in high school to fall back on but Italian and Spanish are different enough that only word roots were the same so I basically went in blind.
I landed in Milan at 8 am on May 25th, and when I got off the plane, I only had a screenshot of Google map directions on my phone. (This is a handy trick for when you know you will not have data service.) Despite not knowing any Italian I managed to find my way to the street that my housing was on but could not find the building.
I walked up and down the street a few times but I was unable to find the numbers on the buildings. I finally went into a local restaurant to ask which building it was and no one spoke English well. I was only asking “Which building is #25?” but they were unable to understand me and I was annoyed that I couldn’t speak Italian.
Now at this point I thought I was pretty much lost in a foreign country but in a twist of fate the building across the street was the exactly the where I needed to be. Overall, this was a frustrating experience and encouraged me to quickly work on my Italian.
What made this intern abroad experience unique and special?
Miles: Overall, I think what made this intern experience special and unique was two things. The first thing was being able to intern in a foreign country. This allowed me a different but similar experience with my internship.
One thing that was different was the language barrier, when dealing with people who are both using second languages to communicate my internship stressed the importance of clear communication and clear mutual understanding for any communication.
The second thing I think that made this internship special and unique was the support of GE in general. The GE members in Milan truly treated us like family and cared about our well-being and our personal and professional success.
This was my second time studying/interning abroad but the first time with GE and this really stood out to me because no matter where you study abroad, London will still be London, Paris will still be Paris, and Milan will still be Milan but having good people around you takes a good experience and makes it great.
Tell us about an experience that you could not have had at home:
Miles: An experience that I could not have had at home is something that the Milanese call “aperitivo.” Aperitivo is essentially “Milan happy hour,” every day from around seven to ten pm. However, instead of the drinks being cheaper like in America the drinks are more expensive, but each bar/restaurant puts out a buffet of food that’s free to eat with a drink.
I especially liked this because of the good value and most importantly the ability to try many different kinds of Italian food. Some of the things that I tried at aperitivo were various kinds of pasta (such as pesto and tomato pasta, spaghetti, chicken pasta etc.), gnocchi’s, pizza sliders, a chicken and potato dish, crab sliders, and mini-lamb shanks.