By Camille Savalli
My first internship day at Spector & Associates was full of surprises! Coming from France, there are lots of American “office habits” that I am not aware of and some of them left me puzzled. Lunch time for example. It’s 12 o’ clock, I am expecting to see people going out of the office to take a break and have a proper meal with their peers, but none of this happened! All my colleagues simply went to the fridge, heated their lunch boxes, went back to their desks and ate while working on their computers! For me, who is so used to 1-hour lunch breaks, sitting at a table and chatting with coworkers, this was astonishing! And it does not stop here. The phone rang; somebody picked up and said casually “Hey Mike! How are you?” I thought it must be a colleague or a friend but not at all, it was a client of the agency. I was really confused; I would have never dared to do this back in France. I would have taken my most formal tone and said “Good morning Mister Jones, how can I help you?” As the days passed, I kept observing my new environment and figured out that I was entering a family. We joke, share some good stories, care for each other, and we even have a yoga session all together. American corporate culture is definitely really different from what I could see in France and I am starting to enjoy it!
Discovering the American work environment is not the only aspect of my experience here though. I am enrolled in the NYU M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication, and doing an internship is to me the best way to transcend the knowledge I am acquiring at school. I find it fascinating and very satisfying to apply what I am learning in class to the business world. And, it is also a great opportunity to open my mind to new perspectives, build a network, and discover industries that I am unfamiliar with.
I am currently following and assisting the elaboration of a strategic communication plan and it is very stimulating. What I am studying on my textbooks is suddenly coming to life and I can see the concrete realization of each step of the process, brainstorm with my superiors and observe their way to think and overcome challenging situations. To me internships are a chance to learn from my supervisors’ experience. They share their knowledge and vision of the business, and it helps me building my own little by little.
This first internship in America is an exciting opportunity that allows me to dive in the American business culture and the Public Relations made in New York. It engages me to question everything I thought I knew, and it is, for me, what makes it a really enlightening experience.
Camille Savalli was born and raised on the French Riviera. She holds a B.A. in History of Art from La Sorbonne, Paris. She is now pursuing a M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication at New York University.