By Jackson Stone, Spring 2018 student from University of North Carolina Wilmington
The term “Communication is key” is something I’ve been hearing since I was merely a young lad. That same young boy would hide behind his nearest parent’s leg when meeting someone new or be at a loss for words and freeze up when all the eyes are on him. Although I grew out of this level of shyness as I grew mentally, the worry of being misunderstood or just straight-up not knowing what you want to say is apparent regarding the aspects of life which I lack experience in. Having high expectations for my future life in the business world I know I must be able to express myself in the right way, but who knows what way that is. This is why, although I’m in school for Accounting, I am currently taking a Communications Internship with Sant’Anna.
Never even believing I could write a blog, the idea of writing this piece in itself strikes fear somewhere I’ve burrowed deep with false confidence. Yet, it is the exact reason I’m here in Sorrento and this new experience highlights what life is all about. The only way to develop a skill is through use and real life experiences. Being my first experience in a true business with real ramifications for my work, I have tended to rely on gut feeling to express how I feel towards a happening or the problem at hand throughout my communications this Spring. Once I settled into a groove and the beautiful Marina Grande began to actually feel like home, the more innate and unconscious my decisions during the internship became. It is human nature to get comfortable doing relatively the same things day after day, but that’s not what my internship entails. I have new assignments every week along with the expectation I bring my ideas and insight to the table. These new experiences build upon each other filling the burrow of fear and false confidence with a true sense of knowing what to say and how to say it.
For future interns of Sant’Anna, allow me to recount this past Thursday and show you a day in the life of an intern. Your alarm goes off at exactly 7 AM and you reach to snooze it, oh wait, that’s the bell coming from the church tower approximately 73 meters from your open window because listening to the wave’s crash as you drift to sleep at night is your guilty pleasure. Unlike my fortunate self you will most likely have a roommate to deal with requiring you to blitzkrieg your morning routine in the bathroom, but me…I take my time. I’ll sip a bottled water, and if I really need it a vending machine cappuccino to get the blood flowing as I look out upon the Bay of Naples feeling tip top magoo after my morning activities, which do include a bout on the sacred bidet. I then go down a mere two flights of stairs and spend the hour of 9 reflecting among my fellow interns with our fearless leader Mrs. Hammeren. Which will end around 10, hopefully a little early allowing me to fuel up before I report to my internship at 10. Or in my case a few minutes later like a true Italian. Then the grind begins and we do what we have to do, hunting results and not getting lost in the process. Whether it be emailing a potential student and answering his/her questions or concerns or creating a informational flyer that will be handed out on campuses across the great States, you’re doing something until 1 PM. Working hand in hand with the beautiful women that act as the backbone of Sant’Anna, you may even start to feel slightly influential in the day to day happenings. But there’s no time to dilly dally, and once the clock strikes 1 you leave the nest for the first time that day and walk 5 minutes to not the nearest salumeria but the one we have all come to love and trust – il Bocconcino. Unsure whether Gennaro or white-haired Francesco will be holding down the 10×5 foot fort ladened in your classic Sorrentino essentials. You drop a classic Italian greeting on him, probably a “Buongiorno” and he’ll say something that goes a little over your head but you both laugh and then tell him “vorrei un panino con prosciutto e mozzarella.” You then hightail it back to campus, throw some spice and spinach on her as the panini press heats up, and quickly check over your Italian homework which you have already completed. And if you haven’t then you’re SOL cause you have no more than 15 minutes before you have to be back downstairs for class at 2. After this one class the day is yours to enjoy as you please, that is unless your name is Sandra and you’re just preparing for your internship.
Here’s a short excerpt I had her write up for you guys about her internship hours, “I am just starting my professional day, in the business professional uniform and name tag. After Italian class I tie up my running shoes and takes a brisk 30 minute walk along the water, breathing in the Ocean air along the way to the 4 star Hotel Mediterraneo. I work in their marketing department, helping my boss Pietro by running the hotel’s social media accounts, collecting marketing materials from the various events at the hotel, posting blog posts, responding to tripadvisor reviews, creating surveys, and speaking with guests. With my own desktop in the back office, I’m able to sit alongside the head managers of the the hotel. Due to the transition of the seasons, I become more and more involved in the front-of-the-house responsibilities as the hotel officially opens to outside guests. And then the time comes to return home, sometimes taking the hotel shuttle if I’m feeling too lazy. Afterward, I reflect on my week through a weekly log, and prepare for what is to come!” I asked a couple other students for a brief explanation of what they do and their purpose for doing so. First, Veronica, an Italian studies student from ASU said “I sit in on the lessons for those learning Italian as a second language and learn how to teach Italian as a second language to all levels. I kind of am doing this to figure out if I want to teach cause I hate children so I didn’t know…” You will find things out about yourself abroad you didn’t realize were true. A student taking his Senior-level Practicum here with Sant’Anna, Rob, wanted to share a little about his process: “I’ve worked in crisis intervention for 2 years serving students in danger of harming themselves. When I came to Sant’Anna Institute, I recognized the need for student services when it came to mental health support. I’ve since developed crisis protocols and coordinated the trainings for the professional staff to be suicide intervention certified.”
My Italian experience overall has exceeded my expectations of life away from home and adding fuel to the fire of my desire to experience all the different cultures our planet has to offer.