An internship to understand the world

The cur­ricu­lum core course, TN07, is a four-week inter­cul­tur­al place­ment that takes place dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days or between semes­ters abroad, in any coun­try enabling stu­dents to famil­iarise them­selves with the cul­ture and liv­ing con­di­tions of the cho­sen coun­try and to prac­tise a for­eign language.

The N07 place­ment has exist­ed since 1974, at the very begin­ning of UTC. Brazil, Italy, Japan, Cana­da, Chile, Cam­bo­dia, Nor­way, Mex­i­co, Slove­nia and Sau­di Ara­bia are just some of the many and var­ied des­ti­na­tions cho­sen by core stu­dents for this inter­cul­tur­al work place­ment. On aver­age, between 30 and 50 stu­dents go wher­ev­er they want each semes­ter, accord­ing to their own wish­es and net­works. «We accu­mu­late «expe­ri­ence cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion» which is request­ed from stu­dents after their stay to facil­i­tate the depar­ture of sub­se­quent stu­dents from a prac­ti­cal point of view and to find their place­ment. The inter­na­tion­al place­ments coor­di­na­tor works with them to refine their project and help them find a suit­able place­ment. There is a wide range of des­ti­na­tions, in Europe and Amer­i­ca, but also in sub-Saha­ran Africa, for exam­ple Tan­za­nia, Rwan­da and Namib­ia. Stu­dents can also work in youth hos­tels, on farms or even in wildlife refuges! The TN07 work place­ment gives them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op their inter­cul­tur­al and lin­guis­tic skills in a prac­ti­cal, hands-on way, and then to analyse their expe­ri­ence in a report and pre­sen­ta­tion. It’s gen­er­al­ly a very enrich­ing expe­ri­ence for stu­dents who are still young and at the start of their train­ing, and the demand for a real inter­cul­tur­al analy­sis is designed to help them over­come cul­tur­al clichés,» says Hadrien Coutant, head of the course, lec­tur­er in soci­ol­o­gy and research sci­en­tist at the UTC­Costech laboratory.

Alone on the other side of the world aged 19

After a maths/SVT (life sci­ences) bac­calau­re­ate, Maelys Luc was admit­ted to UTC in Sep­tem­ber 2021 and is cur­rent­ly major­ing in Urban Engi­neer­ing. She would then like to spe­cialise in BAT (the elec­tive spe­cial­ty in Build­ing sci­ence). In the sum­mer of 2022, she spent five weeks in South Africa, in the town of Grey­ton (near Capetown) in an ani­mal sanc­tu­ary: Grey­ton Farm Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary. The place­ment was made pos­si­ble by ‘Work­away’, a ‘Wwoof­ing’ ser­vice. «I based my research on this coun­try, which I’d want­ed to vis­it for a long time, then I looked for hosts on Work­away and that’s how I found my des­ti­na­tion. This hol­i­day real­ly gave me inde­pen­dence, as I was on my own in anoth­er coun­try. It also allowed me to meet some great peo­ple. From a pro­fes­sion­al point of view, I dis­cov­ered val­ues that I would like to keep and enhance in my job as an engi­neer, such as mutu­al aid, team spir­it, empa­thy and eco­log­i­cal val­ues, respect­ful of the world around us. My Eng­lish has also improved a lot.

Chilean immersion with Hugo Jimenez in his first semester in the mechanical engineering department

Why did you choose the UV TN07?
I real­ly want­ed to dis­cov­er Latin Amer­i­ca. Also, like all UTC stu­dents in the core cur­ricu­lum, I had to do either a work place­ment in a com­pa­ny or an inter­cul­tur­al place­ment. TN07 was there­fore the ide­al for­mat. The aim was also to step out­side my com­fort zone and have a unique expe­ri­ence, as I was going off on my own to the oth­er side of the world for a month. To find this place­ment, I sent out a large num­ber of appli­ca­tions in Latin Amer­i­ca to research cen­tres, asso­ci­a­tions, NGOs, schools and muse­ums. In fact, the TN07 UV leaves plen­ty of scope for pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ties to max­imise each student’s chances of find­ing a place­ment abroad.

What was it like once you got there?
I did my place­ment in the north of Chile, in the city of Tocopil­la to be pre­cise. I was housed and fed by the fam­i­ly of Ghia Duran Camus, my place­ment super­vi­sor and HR man­ag­er for the region­al bus com­pa­ny Suce­sion Luis Camus Calderon. The first week enabled me to famil­iarise myself with the Chilean way of life and dis­cov­er Tocopil­la and the sur­round­ing area. The fol­low­ing two weeks were organ­ised so that I could take advan­tage of longer week­ends to vis­it typ­i­cal Chilean tourist sites. Final­ly, I spent the last few days with my host fam­i­ly. They were very wel­com­ing and shared their dai­ly life and cus­toms with me.

What do you think are the ben­e­fits of this UV?
First of all, I don’t know any stu­dent who has done a TN07 and regret­ted. The expe­ri­ence offered by this course can only be ben­e­fi­cial. «Indeed, ‘trav­el is for the young’. This expe­ri­ence has had a strong impact on me and has enabled me to become more open-mind­ed, to learn a lot about Chilean soci­ety and also about French soci­ety thanks to the cul­tur­al per­spec­tive that this work place­ment has giv­en me. I also ‘grew’ per­son­al­ly, because being alone for four weeks on the oth­er side of the world changes you. Above all, work­ing abroad required me to adapt, because the work­ing con­di­tions (work­ing hours, assign­ments, rela­tion­ships between col­leagues and clients, the labour code) real­ly are real­ly different.

Le magazine

Avril 2024 - N°62

Faire face aux enjeux environnementaux

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