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PROFILE: Student’s D.C. Internship Makes Her Fluent In French!

Since 1998, UC has been helping students like Andrea England land high-quality internships in Washington D.C.  England says her current placement is any intern’s dream come true.

Date: 3/28/2005 8:00:00 AM
By: Jacob Dirr
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Other Contact: Dawn Fuller
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-1823
UC ingot For the past nine weeks, UC sophomore Andrea England has been working in the nation’s capitol, finding out how Washington really works. England, an Honors Scholar and full Cincinnatus Scholar, has spent those weeks rubbing elbows with people from Capitol Hill, experiencing the city and earning 15 general credits while interning full-time at the “Bureau du tourisme du Québec à Washington,” or the Quebec Government Office of Tourism in Washington.

“I love it,” she says. “It’s almost a surreal feeling to think ‘Oh, I met a congressman this morning and I’m leaving to meet a senator later.”

Andrea England at the office in Washington, D.C.

England’s internship was facilitated by The Washington Center, a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization that provides opportunities to work and study in Washington. UC’s Honors Scholar Program has coordinated UC interns with the center since 1998, allowing students to gain valuable work field experiences. However, the program is open to all UC students, not only Honors Scholars, says Leslie Green, the Honors Scholars program coordinator.

“There is no limit to the number of UC students who can participate in the program each quarter,” Green says. “We are currently trying to encourage more students to participate.”

England says she found out about The Washington Center on her first day at UC, when she traveled to campus from her home in Dublin, Va. for the Cincinnatus competition. “The Washington Center was definitely something that appealed to me on an icy February day,” she says. “Ending up in Washington was just a natural progression.”

She says one of the most enjoyable aspects of her internship is the friendships she has formed with her three supervisors, Eric, Michael and Andrea, who have taken time to provide any help they can. “We’ve developed a small community in our office,” she says. “Once I got here, they wanted to get to know me.”

England, who is majoring in international affairs and working on a minor in French, spends much of her day at the office speaking and writing in French. As part of her duties, England must converse with her co-workers, attend meetings, answer phones, study publications and correspond via e-mail almost entirely in French. Even though she is not as fluent as her co-workers, she says they have worked hard to help her improve.
 
In her journal, which she updates every week, England notes that it is consoling to know that not even her bosses have a total command of the French language.  “Accordingly,” she writes, “when Eric finds one such unknown word, he assembles the reluctant office staff on the spot for a vocabulary briefing. I am sure to learn a lot from these!”

Becoming proficient in French has been a great opportunity, England says, because she hopes to intern at the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Cincinnati this spring.
On top of her responsibilities for the Government of Quebec, England attends a weekly course entitled, “How Washington Really Works.” She also tours foreign embassies and attends lectures with other students enrolled through The Washington Center.
 
England says The Washington Center is something she would recommend to any student who would not just like to gain real-world experience, but is also trying to learn what he or she would ultimately like to do for a living. In addition, interested students are eligible to receive $1,800 in scholarship money from Ohio for program costs, as well as another $1,200 from The Washington Center to alleviate living expenses, Green says.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do here,” England says. “But I knew that anything I did here would teach me what I didn’t want to do.” Even though she admits she is busier than she expected to be, England enjoys the challenge of multi-tasking in a major city.

“It’s been great.  I love cities like Washington, the atmosphere and culture are so fast paced,” she says. “It’s definitely a place I would like to come back to, even if I have to wait until after graduation.”

In addition to England, two other UC students are serving internships through The Washington Center. History major Regina Fisher of Avon, Ohio is working at the Washington D.C. Office of the Attorney General, and English literature major Jessica Stout of New Richmond, Ohio is serving an internship with The General Federation of Women’s Clubs.


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