More Than Just An Internship: Brazilian Students Pleasantly Surprised by the TWC Experience

More Than Just An Internship: Brazilian Students Pleasantly Surprised by the TWC Experience

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Maha Neouchy
November 07, 2012

When Anna Malka Gimenez and Daniella Cordioli, two international students attending Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM) in Brazil, first heard about TWC, they assumed all that was in store for them was a semester-long internship in Washington, D.C. But when TWC sat down with them to ask them about their experience, they recognized that their time in D.C. has been so much more than just completing an internship.


TWC: What were your expectations of Washington D.C. before you arrived here from Brazil?


Anna: When I received background information about TWC, I thought I would just be completing an internship. I've been surprised to find that this program is so much more than just an internship: it includes a course, a Civic Engagement project and other TWC-sponsored activities.


As for the city, it's very political but you can still get involved even if politics isn't your focus. I never thought there would be so many young professionals living here. In Brazil, we're under the impression that D.C. is very political and that we'd be in more of a serious environment. And even as a Brazilian, I've been very excited to be here during the election. I've had the opportunity to watch every debate and I've had my American friends explain things that I didn't necessarily understand about politics in this country. To top it all off, I saw Obama and Clinton's speech in Virginia on November 3rd. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and something I will get to tell my children about.


Daniella: I had no idea what to expect before arriving. I remember reading about the program and I realize now that the experience has been so different. I heard there was a chance that I'd be volunteering but I had no idea I'd be completing a Civic Engagement project like Local Green or my course on Entrepreneurship.


TWC: What has been the best part of your experience so far?


Anna: I've lived abroad a number of times before this. When I was 16, I completed a high school exchange program at Oxford. When I was 19, I went to Italy for a month. And last year I was in Turkey for two months to volunteer. Every time I leave home, I have to step out of my comfort zone. For this particular experience, I'm happy to say that I'm older and have a better idea of what's happening. I've been more aware of my surroundings and it's very different from my past experiences in other countries because I'm working versus studying abroad or volunteering. Now, I have a better perspective on my professional experience, so I'm very satisfied.


Daniella: Definitely the internship. I'm an intern at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, a nonprofit studio of art, and I am involved in every aspect of the organization. I've been learning a lot about a variety of activities, I get to observe, help plan events and fundraise. I even get to attend the events that my organization hosts.


TWC: Do you feel like an international experience interning in the U.S. will help set you apart from other students in your field?


Anna: Back in Brazil, people are very impressed with international experience. Now more than ever, it is becoming more popular. People who can afford this type of experience are studying and living abroad. I'm so grateful because after TWC, I'll have a study abroad, volunteer and professional working experiences. TWC is really the full package: I'm living abroad, working abroad and gaining more experience in my field of interest.


Daniella: Yes, I really do. We have a lot of competitive jobs and programs, and an experience like TWC will really help set us apart from other applicants in Brazil.


TWC: Would you recommend this program to other students at ESPM?


Anna: Yes, I think it's a wonderful experience. At ESPM, we have a lot of different study abroad and exchange programs in places like Europe and South America, but I think being in Washington is different because TWC's program offers something that exchange programs do not: a work experience in Washington, D.C. It's an extremely interesting city and I'm happy to be here. It's a different world.


Daniella: Definitely. We had no idea what to expect and this program has been very different from anything we've done back at our home institution. This type of professional experience abroad isn't very common.


Approximately 1,500 students attend TWC's programs each year, with international students making up 20% of our student body on average. During the fall 2012 semester alone, TWC is hosting students from 17 countries. For more information about opportunities for international students contact


[Check out photos from the International Festival on our Flickr channel]

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