Summer Job [redefined]

30 Jun

IES , my program provider and the company for which I’m now interning, sets us up with a scheme to get ourselves famous in the study abroad world.  They give us blank cards with “[redefined]” printed on them.  Our task is to demonstrate how our experiences with abroad redefine typical conceptions of our every day world. For example, one could be climbing the Eiffel Tower with a sign that says “Getting a workout [redefined]” or riding on a camel in Morocco with “Transportation [redefined]”.  I wish I could hold a sign that says “Summer job [redefined]” but I’m sure people would look at me crazily and my arms would get tired.   Aside from the dragging hours in front of the computer and menial errands that are a staple of any internship, mine with IES is an experience I could never get anywhere else.  A few weeks ago our office sent my fellow intern, Darryl, and I to Colmar, France, often voted in online polls as one of the most beautiful and dreamy locations in the world.  Last week we went to Basel, Switzerland and next week we’re heading to Strasbourg, France, home of the European Parliament.  All of these are considered working days and IES pays for all of our transportation and activities.  Sweet deal, huh?  These aren’t just for fun, we do have a job to do:  visit  key highlights of the city and make travel guides for future IES-European Union students to use  when they visit.  Essentially, we are paid tourist-guinea pigs. But I wouldn’t want to be any other kind of guinea pig.

I’m currently writing from the lobby of the Meininger Hostel in Salzburg, Austria.  This isn’t for work, I’m here on a self-motivated mission:  to live out my dream of seeing the sites where the Sound of Music, one of my favorite movies ever, was filmed.  Today, I fulfilled this dream on a four hour Sound of Music tour.  I experienced all the major sites where the film was set, and I could have cried I was so happy.  How weird does this make me?…  I reached three realizations today: A) I have an impecable sense of direction.  If nothing else, I have that going for me.  B) I talk to myself a lot when I’m alone. And I’m hilarious.  C)  Although there’s quite a bit fewer of them, Americans tourists are WAY more annoying than the Japanese tourists that often get so much criticism.  Spending 6 months in Europe has made me realize so much about my fellow Americans.  We definitely are the loudest people at the party (or the restaurant, or the street, or the tour bus…) and we so often think everyone around us wants to know our life stories.  I know perfectly well that most Germans/Austrians could not care less about what your mom does for a living or how funny you think you are.  Don’t you know Germans have no sense of humor?? (Hey, you didn’t hear it from me   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8560815/Germany-officially-the-worlds-least-funny-country.html).  Regardless, I’m just out here, livin’ another day in the life of Eurosummer 2011 :).

Don’t forget to check my https://picasaweb.google.com/afton.mortensen for all my updated photos from my trips and the new IES EU summer students.

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