Part one of my internship in France this summer has concluded. I have spent the past five weeks working alongside these two gentlemen in the gardens at Château d’Acquigny, about one hour due northwest of Paris. It was quite the experience and I know that I will cherish the time that I spent here. Each day, I would wake up, dress, have breakfast, and then meet with Adrien (middle) and Arhaus (right) outside of the the garage at the château. We would then discuss what was to be done for the day and break off and complete our tasks of we were to do them individually or all of us piled into the work truck and went to accomplish one large task together.
I think that the largest takeaway from the time that I have spent working in France is that there is so much wealth to be gained through language. Language is such a powerful thing that I know I take for granted on a day to day basis at home because it is so easy. Being in France and having to try so hard to communicate even the simplest things has really allowed me to see how meaningful languages truly are. I took two years of French in high school but I never used it and really never thought that I would need to, but I have been able to rekindle a little bit of what I learned all those years ago. That being said, it is also important to note that despite the language barriers, we were all able to work side by side, get the job done, and have a laugh at the same time. It pays to be able to have conversation when you are working but I have experienced that even with language barriers being present, the individuals that you work with can still make you laugh as they act out and attempt to explain a joke and then hand you their bottle of water when you are sharing a break together. Work is work and good people are good people, no matter what languages they speak but is that much more rewarding when you are able to share a conversation with them in their native tongue.