Alumna Haley Ingram reflects on internship
Written By: Haley Ingram (BA International Affairs: Europe 18’)
Interning with Alliance Française of Atlanta (AFATL) was….the most orderly chaotic experience of my college career. Every day was an exciting adventure, I wasn’t sure who we’d be meeting or what would be set on my plate, but I knew it would be a challenge.
I was originally drawn to AFATL because of its neighbor organization, Goethe-Zentrum. I attended UNG’s Federal Service Language Academy program when I was 16 and we took a fieldtrip to the German Cultural Center. It was one of the most eye opening lessons of my young life and spurred the desire to continue learning about language, culture, and politics.
Six years later, feeling like I knew everything about European Cultures, I walked back into the same building but speaking French. Having saved my internship until my last semester of college, AFATL had a lot riding on it being “the internship”.
I worked with Shanita Miller, who was a power house of being strong, determined, and culturally informed. She told me from the very beginning that I would get so wrapped up in French culture while I was there that I would be planning my next trip to France before the semester ended. I was responsible for typing up and sending out the organizations newsletter, which was always a little fun. I designed social media posts and our web images. About two weeks into my internship I became curious about how the website worked and learned how to tweak and edit the pages.
Working as the development assistant I helped to plan and organize the Spring events for AFATL. This started as early as my second week with the hosting of an event called Champagne et Chocolate. (All fun and games until I got into a wreak on my way out of Atlanta). I got lucky coming in when I did, I got to participate in some really neat events, meeting some of the directors of European consulates in Atlanta, and other American based European influencers. I learned more about the different French Cultures than I ever could have known, witnessing firsthand the bountiful French-African cultures in Atlanta with the organization’s annual Africa Belle celebration.
I think the best part of working for AFATL was all of the people I got to engage with. Just in the staff, four of the five were from Francophone Countries. I loved hearing the stories of where everyone grew up, and how they were raising their families. It brought France to our little office.
My internship taught me about the family of French culture. Everyone took care of each other. Whether it was all us interns discussing the degrees we’re pursuing, or the knowledge that we can still reach out to each other for anything we might need. I got lucky with my internship. Between Alliance Francaise and Goethe-Zentrum, I now have my own European Community right here on American soil.