Students Gain Perspective, Language Skills While Interning Abroad

by Katie Bradley | Oct 28, 2014

In an increasingly globalized world, studying and interning abroad is not only more accessible, but also more beneficial. From learning a new language through total immersion to gaining a new perspective by traveling outside of the United States, studying or interning in a different country offers students the opportunity to explore first-hand the rich complexities of diverse cultures and civilizations around the world.   

Marian University offers many opportunities for students to study abroad, from the very popular “Maymester” program that allows students to travel to places like England, Greece, France, or Italy through the month of May, to summer, semester-long, or year-long programs in places like Salzburg, Austria or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In recent years, the university has worked to give students a more comprehensive and unique abroad experience through internships. The idea came when senior Jessica Skrobul ’15 went to France as part of the “Maymester.” While learning about the school systems in Paris, Skrobul and Martine Camblor, assistant professor of French at Marian University, met with the principal of College Claude Chappe, a Parisian middle school. After the initial meeting, Camblor proposed that Skrobul intern at the school.

“Jessica wants to teach French. By going to a foreign country and learning how they teach foreign languages, she could develop her language skills and her teaching skills. That is an amazing opportunity,” said Camblor.

With that suggestion, Skrobul worked with her professors to make the internship possible. Martine Camblor worked hard to organize the internship, making sure Skrobul was linguistically prepared to live and work in France and also served as intermediary with the French school to set the expectations for the internship and find a place for Skrobul to live.

Camblor worked with Diana Cheshire, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and Exercise Science to establish a set of expectations and assignments to make sure their student was not only getting the most out of her experience, but also able to apply the internship towards her degree program. 

A year after her Maymester in France, Skrobul traveled back to Paris to begin her teaching internship with students in grades six through nine. During her time in France, Skrobul observed classes, taught lessons, and helped interview students for honors English courses. 

“My internship had a profound impact on my teaching style, French language skills, perception of French culture, and overall world view. As a teacher, I learned to be more flexible in the classroom and to bridge cultural differences through shared interests,” said Skrobul. “Total immersion for two months in French language and culture enabled me to better understand and appreciate the country and people.” 

Experiences like Jessica Skrobul’s are unique to Marian University because professors and advisors give students personal attention and one-on-one mentoring that allow them to have these opportunities.

“I’m willing to work with individual students to find internships and experiences abroad because I believe that it is an amazing and transformational experience,’ said Camblor, who herself is from France.

Internships abroad go beyond giving students real-world experience.

“The process of becoming bilingual has improved my language skills in French and English, but it also sparked a reflection on my culture and my beliefs. Being able to communicate with others around the world and experience their lifestyle has changed my daily life. I am more culturally sensitive to others and contemplative of my own culture. I became more globally-oriented,” said Skrobul.     

In 2014, Camblor helped another Marian University student intern at an elementary school in France and interest in these types of opportunities continues to grow.

Students interested in interning or studying abroad should contact Wendy Westphal, Ph.D., chair director of study abroad, at for more information.  

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