I spent the last 10 months living in Paris, France on an exchange program for my master’s degree. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has a direct exchange program with Paris III – La Sorbonne Nouvelle, where graduate students/teaching assistants teach English conversation classes to French undergraduates while taking classes at any Parisian university for his/her master’s degree. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it? Well, packing up most of your life and heading across the ocean for the academic year is a bit frightening, yet exciting all at the same time. Even though I’ve been to Paris twice before, my first month was a tumultuous and chaotic time full of new experiences, culture shock, and a few tears of frustration.
Upon arriving in Paris, I had to: find a place to live, open a bank account, get my visa validated, purchase a French SIM card and phone plan, attend meetings for my new teaching position, and enroll in my own graduate classes. Might not sound that hard; however, doing all of this in a foreign country with a different administrative and organizational structure, posed quite the challenge. I finally felt somewhat established in my Parisian life after living there for three months. Some of my favorite things about Paris: the food and pastries, the rich culture and history, and many visits from my family and friends who got to experience my daily life and experience some of the cultural differences for themselves. Some of my not so favorite things about Paris: French administration, the metro, the dense and over-populated city.
I learned a great deal about French culture and about myself from stepping out of my comfort zone and living another lifestyle so far from home. While I didn’t feel like I belonged in Paris, I still had an enriching experience and have lots of stories to tell about my time abroad!
To live in a foreign country, you need to be open-minded, flexible, persistent, and organized. These are qualities I also use here at ICD Translation on a daily basis. I’ve learned that, as a project manager (PM), you must be organized with file management and communication as well as be persistent to ensure a polished product is returned to the client. A PM must be able to spot potential problems and anticipate any issues that might be encountered in the project. Addressing any issues, challenges, and client preferences at the beginning of the project will ensure it will go smoothly. Additionally, file preparation and management as well as CAT tool knowledge is crucial in the translation process and is something I’m still learning to fully understand. The amount of technology available for the translation industry is mindboggling! I hope to gain a deeper understanding of all the software programs and learn how to better handle different file formats to become a more experienced PM.
Throughout my internship I’ve learned a lot about managing translation projects and I’m grateful to the ICD team for showing me the ropes. I hope to develop the skills I’ve learned here and use them in the future as I continue in the translation business.
Lindsey Wondolkowski has her BA from the UW-LaCrosse in French and Spanish (Business Concentration). She completed a 100-hour internship at ICD Translation and is now working with us part-time as a Jr. Project Manager. Lindsey will complete her graduate degree in French Translation at UW-Milwaukee in December. She loves to travel, explore, and be outside. An avid runner, she is currently training for her second marathon, so working out and working at ICD keeps her quite busy!