We asked TAM students at the end of their first year in the program to tell us what they’ve been doing this summer. Many of them are interning in the US or in Europe and / or pursuing foreign-language study overseas. Please read more about their activities below!
Melody Bauer is in Paris:
When thinking about it, this summer has been busy! Happenings so far include taking evening French classes and a two-month internship at UNESCO’s Science Policy and Capacity Building Division. My beau and I also did a couple of road trips: one to Costa Brava, Spain, the other to the Massif Central, France. I’m going to spend the rest of summer assisting some French friends at their startup.
It was great to experience the working environment of an international organization, and to learn about the various projects and initiatives that UNESCO’s Science Division is involved with.
I got a few potential thesis topic ideas from my time at UNESCO—or at least material to think about.
Learning French is obviously relevant to TAM and useful in general, but I see it as more of a personal pet project as my boyfriend’s parents don’t speak much/any English. I would really like to be able to converse with them!
Paris experienced quite the heatwave in June, with temperatures rising to about 37 degrees Celsius!
I started taking the city bikes everywhere in Paris, and it has been a great way to see more of the city, save money, and avoid the metro.
Amber Cassady is in Lisbon:
- This summer, I am interning for the U.S. State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal! Working for the Politics/Economics section, I stay quite busy researching special projects and assisting the officers with event planning, cable writing, and Embassy outreach. Much of our work acts as an intermediary between the governments of the U.S. and Portugal, so I am gaining a first-hand experience of how diplomacy works in a day-to-day setting. After finishing up my internship in August, I will be taking Portuguese classes to hone in on my language skills, thanks to being awarded the summer Foreign Language Area Studies fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education!
- First, my internship at the U.S. State Department has solidified my interest in establishing a career in international affairs after TAM. The world constantly needs passionate, knowledgeable diplomats, and after working with people who represent the best of these ideals, I am certain that foreign affairs would offer me a rewarding career. The internship has also allowed me to research topics that are very interesting to me and could very well feed into my thesis. Second, FLAS language classes will allow me to become fluent in Portuguese. Being trilingual (along with Spanish and English) is useful in any industry as well as in Europe, South America, and Africa. With the increasing importance of Brazil and countries in Africa, I definitely envision Portuguese being a valuable skill in the long run. Without TAM, both of these opportunities wouldn’t have been possible. Thanks, TAM!
- Lisbon is experiencing a tourist boom due to its low cost of living but beautiful national parks, beaches, and neighborhoods. So, I’ve had to balance trying to become a local in a city that’s more and more inundated with international visitors! I live with another TAM student, so we make sure to sprinkle in some fun between work and language classes. Fun fact: Taxis and Uber are in a contentious legal battle, so many of us have to plan out transportation very carefully and be sure to not take Ubers into taxi territory.
Trey Jackson is in Fez, Morocco:
I’m just now wrapping up a 6-week intensive Arabic language program in Fez, Morocco, funded by a US Department of Education FLAS fellowship. FLAS has given me the chance to wander, arguably, the most beautiful old medina in North Africa, chat with locals about the sitting US president (among other things), and attend numerous traditional music concerts. I also got to ride a camel a dozen miles into the Sahara Desert, sleeping outside under a visible milky-way.
My intended research explores European immigration policies and how those policies impact potential migrants from North Africa and diaspora attempting to assimilate in southern Europe. Arabic language skills are invaluable, both for interviews and for reading accounts of Arabic-speakers’ experiences.
Fes el-Bali, an ancient city situated east of the French village in Fez, contains the worlds oldest continually-functioning university, the University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859 AD. Still boasting a student population of over eight-thousand, it was also the first university in the world to award degrees. el-Bali, in my opinion, is also the best place in the world to shop for leather. The tanneries, though smelly, are first class.
Nora Weber is in Michigan:
1) I’m conducting my research study (approved by UNC’s IRB) about adult literacy in the US. Currently, I’m building partnerships with literacy organizations around the country, to connect the study with adult literacy students. On the side, I’m managing the online campaign of a friend who is preparing to run for public office.
2) My US-based research this summer (and throughout the term of the study) is intended to complement research into literacy in Germany when I’m in Bremen this fall, and the study is also the basis of the research I hope to continue pursuing in a PhD program after TAM. Helping with my friend’s campaign is a rewarding way to combine some of my other academic and professional interests: elections, civic engagement and digital technology.
3) Michigan in the summer is stunningly beautiful, and I’m hoping to get up to Pictured Rocks (strongly recommend Google image searching!) later this month.