What position do you hold at City Travel Review? What has been your career path so far?
Selene: I'm Project Manager for the Lyon project. I'm Italian, and have lived in Lyon since 2004. Outside CTR, I have always been a journalist, officially since 1997, although I published my first story on a local paper in 1990. I have mostly worked as a freelance, both for Italian and international media.
In Lyon I have worked since 2000 for Euronews, both as a freelancer and under contracts. My last assignment for them was as Web Producer and Social Media Manager for the program Generation Y. I'm now starting my own business, Phaeluna - (inter)active culture.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
Selene: I enjoy working in an international environment. The team is multilingual and multicultural, and the students come from all over the world. I also love working with young people, I feel as if I had more to learn from them than to teach them.
What makes City Travel Review's programs unique?
Selene: I suppose they are ambitious: at the same time working, learning and having fun. Students visit the city, meet the people, learn a language and how to write a guide, and at the end of a three-week program they leave with real skills they didn't have when they arrived. I have seen students who didn't even know where to begin to write an article become perfectly proficient and able to write for any major magazine.
What's your favorite story of a program participant's City Travel Review experience?
Selene: Charlotte is a British young girl who was on our first program, in 2012. She is a brilliant writer and wished to stay in Lyon. She was very motivated and very driven, so I helped her get an internship at Euronews. The rest is all her doing: she was able to show her own abilities, which were enhanced by the skills she had learned in our program, and when I gave up my post, she took over.
I must point out that I had no part in the editor-in-chief's choice to take her instead of another of the candidates to the job: she was just the right person to do it. But if she had never joined the program, nothing of all of this would have happened.
What tips do you have for someone considering a City Travel Review program?
Selene: Be flexible and resilient. We do everything we can to make your stay as comfortable as possible, but we don't babysit you and we also try to prepare you for real life situations: uncomfortable deadlines, hard work, being able to organize yourselves in spite of unforeseen events... City Travel Review is for everyone, but not for anyone.