As second-year master students we are offered the opportunity to do an internship, and here is why you should do it. Students are invited to attend conferences and symposiums organised by the Laboratoire d’Études et de Recherche sur le Monde Anglophone (UR 853) on a wide range of topics. This research internship is an occasion to step outside of your comfort zone and discover new fields of research, outside of your own. Students also have the possibility to do a professional internship, at the LERMA or elsewhere. I did my internship at the LERMA, mostly at the Maison de la Recherche with Professor Sophie Vallas.
Marc Chénetier, professor emeritus of American contemporary literature, donated his personal archives to the LERMA as part of the HÉPISTÉA project. The archives include professional and personal documents, translation drafts, letters, photographs, etc. as well as André Le Vot’s personal archives. Le Vot, who was also a professor of American contemporary literature and a Fitzgerald specialist, passed on his archives to Chénetier. During my internship, I was assigned to label and organise the correspondences, both of Marc Chénetier and André Le Vot. As my final year dissertation deals with linguistics, working with archival documents was a real discovery for me. I dealt with handwritten letters, and organising them chronologically allows us to understand a person’s whereabouts, which emails sometimes fail to do. Such primary sources are important documents to preserve for future research, hence the importance of archives. For example, I was able to read handwritten letters from Paul Auster, postcards from around the world, and look at drawings by Noah Baumbach from when he was a child. This internship made me discover a new side of research and realise the importance of preserving primary documents in order to facilitate the diffusion of knowledge.
Being an intern for a few weeks provides a very good professional experience insofar as you acquire both new skills and knowledge. In particular, if you are unsure of what you want your career plans to be, an internship will help you define your project more clearly because sometimes it takes a working experience to realise whether the reality matches your expectations or not. Moreover, an internship in a field unknown to you can help you broaden your horizons and set you onto a new path. As research students, we have very little field experience, and a professional internship is an interesting way to balance this lack of experience. Being an intern is both a way to acquire skills and experience, and to make good use of your master’s degree.
Crédits Image: Photographe: Suzy Hazelwood.