Summertime always brings opportunity, adventure and experience. These wildly anticipated three months of the year open boundless opportunities for students and staff to work, travel, volunteer and more – and, needless to say, Virginia Commonwealth University students are no strangers to these adventures.
VCU’s efforts to “Make it Real” encourage learning during all parts of life, both in and out of the classroom, and VCU students, faculty and staff are doing just that.
Indeed, VCU Rams can be found on all corners of the globe during the summer time, and this year, University Student Commons and Activities is determined to showcase their stories! From studying abroad in Europe to interning in New York and everything in between, the “Where in the World is VCU?” blog series follows VCU students and staff across the world to highlight their interesting adventures and experiences this summer to show the community just how dynamic VCU Rams really are.
Read about junior Emily Holter, who is spending her summer interning in St. Lo, France. After completing her internship in mid-June, Holter will then travel to Greece for a week. Find out more about Holter’s experience in this edition of “Where in the World is VCU?”
Can you start by telling me your name, year and major?
My name is Emily Holter. I am a [rising] junior and I am majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in Print and Online Journalism.
Where in the World are you this summer?
For the summer, I am in St, Lô, France from May 17 to June 17. Then, after [completing my internship] I will be in Thessoloniki, Greece for vacation with one of my friends.
How did you get the internship? What sparked your interest?
The internship is between the St. Lô and Roanoke Sister Cities Committee. There was an interviewing process and, afterwards, they chose an intern. It is a rather flexible thing as, after you are selected, they let you, for the most part, decide where you will work and what you will do. I am currently working at two different museums.
Is this your first time out of the country? What has it been like?
This is my second time going out of the country. I went last year and it changed my perspective on life and my own culture. There are many things that are different as France and the U.S. share different customs and culture. At times it is difficult because I am fully immersed and often do not understand.
However, with that being said, it is an amazing experience. I understand that I am extremely privileged to have this opportunity and with that I am just trying to make the best of it. My favorite part of it all is just learning and watching myself grow. It definitely has made me a stronger individual and overall more confident in myself. The only way to understand and respect someone’s culture is to be completely immersed in it. Throughout my educational career, I have taken five years and a semester worth of French. Yet I have learned more than any of that just from being here for a month. Also, I think the history aspect is truly amazing. St. Lô was one of the first cities liberated by the Americans after the D-Day landings. I have [gone] to the Omaha and Utah beach and to see the juxtaposition of past and present is remarkable and humbling. Everyone is so sweet and patient. It is an experience of a lifetime.
Do you have any advice for anyone seeking to go out of the country for an internship?
You will be afraid. That is the price of living. Anytime you go out of your comfort zone you put yourself at risk of failure. Just know that it is okay to fail. You are going to [fail], you are in a different country, in a language that is not native to you, and you do not know anyone. Do not that any of that stop you from going. The opportunity and the adventure ahead is far too great to not do it. Life is short. Also, keep an open mind. You are in a beautiful country with beautiful customs and beautiful people. Be open to it all and you will be better. Also, pack light and always write, take pictures, keep the memories.
Read more about Holter and her adventures here!