On-The-Job Learning in France
During my semester abroad in Paris, I interned at TRINOV, a French waste management company that helped its clients become more sustainable and more cost-effective in their waste disposal practices. The company did this through software that organized the types of waste clients produced, determined what amount of the waste was recycled, and found better ways to dispose of each type of waste. TRINOV’s main clients were French companies that created large amounts of waste, for instance grocery stores.
The main reason I chose to do an internship abroad was to improve my language skills and talk with native speakers. My internship greatly improved my French listening and speaking skills because I was forced to speak French for two days a week, nine hours a day, for two months. I enjoyed meeting and getting to know the native French employees who worked at TRINOV. The company was small, with only seven workers, all but one of whom was under 30. The environment I worked in was welcoming, and my colleagues were friendly and willing to help with my language skills. This gave me a great opportunity to improve my French and created a different environment to learn about the French culture and the French workplace in particular.
In addition to improved language skills, I also gained professional experience in my field of interest. Since TRINOV was so small, I was able to work in many different departments. Every day I would be assigned a different task and would learn about the marketing or the environmental aspects of the company. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences in the French and American workplace, as well as the varying approaches to waste management and environmental issues. I would recommend for other students to participate in an internship while they are abroad.