Why I’m Doing A Summer Journalism Internship In France

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This summer, I’m working as a journalism intern at a radio station in the city of Rouen in Northern France.

I obtained this internship after being on the hunt for my first job following my graduation from the Journalism – New Media program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.

I completed my studies in April 2011, and then participated in the ieiMedia program, in the town of Perpignan, France in July of the same year.

Like many young job seekers, I am stuck in a vicious cycle. I don’t have enough experience, so I do not get hired. I do not get hired, so I don’t gain experience.

The program allows students from journalism schools in North America to travel abroad and sharpen their journalistic skills by conducting interviews, writing feature stories, shooting video stories, and blogging about their experiences on the program website.

After completing the program I returned to my hometown of Quebec City where I began a full-time job search by sending out resumes, making cold calls and using social media.

I managed to obtain various in-person interviews in Quebec City, Montreal, and even one in Toronto. I also did telephone and Skype interviews with potential employers in Charlottetown and Windsor.

Yet by October I still had not been hired anywhere, so I joined a local job agency that specifically caters to young people seeking employment. Last February one of the career counselors told me about an offer for an internship at Radio R2R, a radio station based at the Université de Rouen. The offer seemed tailor-made for me: they were looking for someone who was 18 to 35 years old, a Canadian citizen, unemployed, currently looking for a job, and with a college or university diploma in journalism.

After carefully considering the offer, I decided to apply because when I contacted employers who had interviewed me, they often told me one of the reasons my application was rejected was lack of experience. The experience gained with ieiMedia was good, but clearly one month is not enough in this competitive market.

Like many young job seekers, I am stuck in a vicious cycle. I don’t have enough experience, so I do not get hired. I do not get hired, so I don’t gain experience.

The internship in Rouen lasts 12 weeks and involves proactive work, such as conducting interviews, working on the daily show from Monday to Friday with fellow reporters, and producing news reports. Hopefully this experience will help me break out of the cycle.

Stay tuned: This summer, TalentEgg will follow Simon throughout his internship in France!

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About the author

Simon Arseneau has been travelling around the world since he was two years old. Although he was born in a small Canadian town, he spent his teenage years in Chile and Peru. There he learned how to speak Spanish and how to adapt to a new culture. In 2006, he studied English and Intercultural Studies (translation, editing, and literature) at the University of Sherbrooke. In 2010, he enrolled at the Sheridan Institute (Oakville, Ontario) in Journalism- New Media where he learned how to operate cameras, perform interviews, edit material with Final Cut Pro, take digital photographs, use new media technology, and write for the web and print. In July 2011, he participated in the ieiMedia program in Perpignan, France, where he shot videos, performed interviews, and wrote a feature story about blacksmiths working in the region. Simon speaks French, English, and Spanish, and has experience with Italian and German.