Postcard #8 from Paris: Learning on the Job in France
October 15, 2019
By Caroline Rinehart ’21
PARIS, France — We’re in Week 8 of Asbury University’s Paris Semester and now that French classes have ended, we’re all focusing a lot of our time on our internships.
I first connected with my internship director back in September and still remember my first day so vividly. As I walked down the foreign cobblestone streets of Paris, I prayed that I was going in the right direction. This would be my first meeting for my internship at the French Bible Society (FBS), and I dreaded the thought of being late. I was getting turned around at every corner.
I checked the time. I only had 10 more minutes before I would be late. I started to perspire knowing that I had no idea where I was going. I silently pleaded with the Lord that He would take me home then and there because being late to my first internship was a thought too terrible to bear. He denied my request, and instead brought me right to the door of my internship. I was unsure about how it was that I got there (and with a couple minutes to spare).
Walking up to the door of the FBS, I confidently pulled the handle to enter, but to my surprise it was locked. Confused, I stood back and looked at the building to make sure I was at the right location. Written on the tinted glass windows was “French Bible Society,” so I knew I was in the right place. I pulled out my phone to make sure the meeting time was at 10:30 a.m., and it was.
Then I remembered something very important about doors; some push and others pull. I decided to give the push method a try. And just like that, the door magically opened.
Standing in the middle of the office space, I must have looked like quite a mess. Iced white chocolate mocha from Starbucks in hand, I was sweaty and breathless from my walk, my hair was falling out on one side and my mascara was smearing from the sweat.
“Bonjour!” I said in my very American accent, trying to act normal.
The fact that the French Bible Society allowed me to continue working for them after that first day is a wonder to me and I still chuckle at the memory. But they did, and I would not have it any other way as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to be part of a company like this!
I met with three wonderful women, and we sat and chatted about their expectations and my role at FBS. They decided to give me the job of creating an English website for the FBS. Because their website is in French, they wanted an English-friendly site for Americans and other English speakers to be able to better understand the French Bible Society. I was daunted by the task and excited to be part of such an exciting project that would make an international impact, but day by day we were able to work out a plan for what they wanted and how I could help them achieve that goal.
Whether it was learning how to set up a WordPress site or digging deeper into the heart of the FBS, I have learned so much more than I expected to learn throughout my time at the French Bible Society. Today, we are continuing to work on the site and hope to have the finished product up soon.
Getting to do an internship in an international hub like Paris has been so exciting and eye-opening! I’m grateful for the opportunities that Asbury’s Paris Semester provides to get real work experience in a big city and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the semester brings.