Pablo Picasso once reportedly stated that “art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” We’re pretty sure that most of our interns and trainees in the arts would agree with that sentiment, but might add that discovering the world offers its own unique cleansing qualities.
Recently, three of our current Career Training USA participants updated us on their training programs at renowned U.S. arts and cultural institutions. They shared about the opportunities they have had at their host organizations, building relationships with their colleagues, and exploring the cities where they are living!
Anna, Intern at the American Ballet Theater
Anna, from Italy, is spending four months as an intern at the American Ballet Theater (ABT) in New York City. She is completing her Master’s degree in Performing Arts Management at Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy.
Anna is interning in a historical building where ABT has both offices and dance studios. Anna shared her thoughts about her internship activities and adapting to U.S. office culture:
“Every day is different, but I have the chance to interact with dance teachers, pianists and artistic administrators. ABT’s National Training Curriculum is a program for the development and training of young students that embraces sound ballet principles and incorporates elements of the French, Italian, and Russian schools of training. I also train in the administration of student’s dance exams. Sometimes I have the chance to watch the rehearsals or help with the studio company.”
“For sure I appreciate the vibrant artistic atmosphere and the exchange that there is with other departments. But it wasn’t always so easy for me. At the beginning I had some difficulties because I was the only European in the office, and the cultural organization in the U.S. is really different from the Italian one.”
Anna has also made the most of her time in NYC, exploring and taking in many shows.
“I have been to the theater mostly one or two times per week. I was at the MET Opera, the Joyce Theater, Carnegie Hall, David H. Koch theater, and BAM in Brooklyn. I went to Broadway to see a musical. I also visited many museums here in New York and tried to explore the different neighborhoods as much as I can. I ate many different cuisines, and tried typical dishes.”
“I met other friends that, like me, are passionate about theater and they are from all over the world (and sponsored by InterExchange as well). I’ve visited other cities such as Philadelphia and Washington. I will also see a basketball game next week.”
Anaka, Trainee at the Denver Art Museum
Anaka shared some of the tasks and activities that have been part of her training:
“The Denver Art Museum (DAM) is a bustling hub of all sorts of activities. At a given time there will be multiple ongoing exhibitions, reinstallation and rotations happening, so no day is the same as the previous one. I have been involved with the de-installation of a fashion exhibition, preparation and installation of the exhibition on rugs named ‘Rugged Beauty: Antique carpets from Western Asia’ which is currently on view, working on my research project and conducting conservation assessments and treatments on textiles from the DAM’s vast collection.”
She has also had the opportunity to share her culture with new friends, as well as learn more about the U.S.:
“Cultural learning is part of the daily experience, both in smaller and larger doses. I have learned that the pride and sentiments of the people of Denver for the Broncos run deeply and hope to watch at least one live game to experience that. I was not aware of ‘March Madness’ till a month ago and I can say that is not the case anymore for sure.”
“When it comes to culture, food plays a huge role. So there have been fun food adventures involving fried pickles and beer cheese to name some. In terms of sharing from my end, food and clothing have been major [cultural learning experiences]. My colleagues hopefully know a lot more about saris, South-Indian snacks, and homemade chutneys now.”
Axel, Intern at the Metropolitan Opera
Axel is a French student completing a five-month internship at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He is completing his Master’s degree in Cultural & Performing Arts Management at the Polimi Graduate School of Management in Milan, Italy.
Axel is interning in the Metropolitan Opera’s Marketing and Communications Department.
“I’ve been lucky enough to assist the content creation team by helping them take photos or videos of rehearsals for our social media. It is really fun! I also participate in our content brainstorming sessions to think about how we can communicate about our future productions. I am also working independently on a project to improve the marketing reports we are creating for the upcoming season. The idea is to improve the way we do things and be more productive. From time to time, I also work on the various public programming events we hold throughout the city to talk about our productions, usually helping with backstage and dressing rooms, greeting the artists or assisting the stage manager if there is a performance.”
Asked what he has enjoyed most about interning with his host employer, Axel replied:
“I like that, despite the fact that I am in a large institution employing close to 3,000 people, my employer integrates me perfectly in the teams, makes me participate in different meetings so that I see as much as possible and above all, and lets me express my opinion, make suggestions, and propose ideas. And I’m not going to lie, having the chance to attend any performance and see all the opera productions in such a theater is also an incredible opportunity.”
Axel is also taking advantage of New York City’s thriving arts and culture scene:
“I have the privilege of being able to attend many performances at Lincoln Center and explore different types of performing arts: jazz and philharmonic concerts, ballets…I usually get two tickets and invite friends and people I met here (international students, flatmates, other J-1 interns from this program). It’s such a pleasure to introduce them to these cultural activities and to live those experiences with them.”
“On weekends I often go to museums with my friends (MoMa, Metropolitan Museum of Art…) and every Sunday we usually explore a new district of the city and go on a photographic and culinary expedition as we try to take good photos and eat something traditional from the neighborhood. As I speak, we are planning to do Chinatown this Sunday.”
These participants chose to intern and train in the U.S. as it is home to prominent music, theater, museums, and dance organizations. They also have had the opportunity to share with their colleagues about the vibrant arts and culture scenes of their home countries.
If you are a university student, recent graduate, or a professional with a few years of experience in your field, consider starting your own journey and adding international experience to your resume with Career Training USA!