Cultural exchange in the Chicago office!

Laurette interned with the Short-Term Programs department of Greenheart Exchange. She wanted to share her thoughts about her experience with us:

I started my internship in February 2018 as the final milestone for my master’s in international management. After studying for five years in the South of France and interning in the same city last year (Aix-en-Provence), I felt like I wanted to broaden my horizon and started applying for internships abroad.

I interviewed with Nicole Cook, my supervisor, in September and I was very happy when I read that I was accepted to intern with Greenheart Exchange in their Short-Term Programs Department, starting in February. They are organizing exchange programs for teens and adults for up to 12 weeks, mostly over the summer. My missions were to support recruiting local coordinators and host families, provide promotional materials for their participants and upload applications in the database. Even though I arrived in what seemed to me as the coldest winter ever (I grew up in the South of France!), I didn’t wait long before starting to explore Chicago. My company, Greenheart International, is very inclusive, with many greats opportunities to get to know the staff and they’ve helped me discovering the best places in the city!

I was sponsored by Greenheart through the CAP program. The team provided a great support from the first steps when I applied for my visa to the follow up once I started working in February. I’m so thankful because they’ve all been so helpful during this experience! They even scheduled events for all CAP participants and their supervisors. That’s how I had the opportunity to attend a NBA game with my supervisor Nicole last April. What a great cultural experience! I really enjoyed halftime and all the fun that came with it. When you spend a long period of time away from your culture, it gets easier to compare it with the culture of the country you’re visiting. Leaving away from home is the perfect way to become aware of your own values. Later that month, I volunteered for Earth Day at a Urban Farm with some Greenheart staff in April. We volunteered for an organization called “My Block My Hood My City”, my team helped spreading compost over the field to plant trees and vegetables.

I’m glad I can enjoy all these cultural experiences thanks to my host company and their CAP department. I’m also very thankful to be hosted by a wonderful host family who has been teaching me so much about the American lifestyle and culture every day. My experience is about to come to an end but I will never forget the patience and kindness of all these people who contributed to this amazing experience.

Learn more about Intern and Trainee programs here.