Sometimes it is difficult to see how the actions you choose to take right now can alter your future in life changing ways. When I studied abroad last year in Rome, I never expected the connections I made through my internship or a weekend school trip in Venice to completely shape the next few months of my post graduation life.
As a double major in Art History and Italian, Rome was an obvious choice to spend my year abroad. The internship program that my school offered was a huge factor in my decision to go there specifically. During the fall semester I worked at the Capitoline Museums in the center of Rome, some of the most prestigious art establishments in all of Italy and the world, known for their incredible collection of ancient antiquity. Besides being an amazing resume booster, I was able to truly live everything I had been learning about in school, and it only solidified my passion for these fields. Besides being surrounded by the Italian language and beautiful art all day, I was able to experience the practical side of museology, and see how business was really conducted behind closed doors.
During my spring semester I visited Venice, the “Queen of the Adriatic”. I was excited for a weekend off from school and the hectic streets of Rome to play tourist in this watery city. One afternoon was spent in the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and I completely devoured all the wonderful 20th century art that I usually did not get to see. After a tour from a young American docent, she and I became very friendly and spoke about how she got this dream job at the museum. She is the one who turned me on to the possibility of living and interning in Venice, and idea I was completely unaware of. I returned home in July of 2010, months after meeting here, but I never forgot what she told.
So why am I enthusiastically sharing these experiences? Because of my original internship at the Capitoline in Rome and the fateful meeting I had at the Guggenheim in Venice, I am returning as paid intern this fall to Venice at the Guggenheim! Out of thousands of worldwide applicants, I was one of the ones chosen to participate in an all encompassing internship at this incredibly prestigious museum. Did I mention that’s it paid? The importance of networking and interning abroad is crucial in laying down the foundation for future opportunities like mine. It’s not about your net worth, but your networks that will propel your career into the industry or profession you desire. I cannot express how important it is to take advantage of the many incredible internship opportunities available to you abroad, and to be more forward thinking to where they may take you later on in life!
Jillian Neilson, OIE Peer Advisor