As we are working for an internship placement agency, we are looking for students via the social networks, mainly on twitter. Thus my colleague in charge of the French prospection finds sometimes some very funny tweets during his search. It’s amazing to see what people are able to post online. For instance some people have published: “Mother f***s, I need an internship” or “It f***s me to look for an internship”. One of the best was about a girl looking for a drug watchman internship. Another one is about two young men arguing and insulting each other with a lot of unbelievable grammatical and spelling mistakes, because they think that their French writing is the best. I don’t say that mine is perfect either, but there is a standard. There are also a lot of tweets from parents who are certainly more worried about the internships their children have to do. However, even if their actions are full of good intentions, it could greatly damage the chance of their child finding what they want because it makes them sound like immature in the eyes of the recruiters and maybe also because when a parent is acting on behalf of their child, dad or often mum can’t stay objective. Thus, a lovely mummy (I’m sure she is) wrote on twitter that her daughter was looking for an internship in marketing and that she has a passion for horses…
What is funny is that we sometime can see the cultural difference between the international people that contact us. For instance, some French are in a hurry because they have to start their internship in less than 2 weeks and others like German people are looking for one in the next year.
Another anecdote at work is about the car park in front of the office which are limited to 1h30. Of course, everyone from the office with a car, parks here. But one day a police man came and started to write some fines, causing a general panic in the office as everyone stood up and ran to his/her car.
One of the first times I spoke with the boss, I started talking about Couchsurfing. However, my incredible pronunciation made it sound to him like “kaysurfing”. We had a deaf dialogue for 5 minutes before we understood that something was wrong. Other embarrassing conversations I had took place during some Couchsurfing meetings where almost every time an English guy who I can’t understand a word of because of his accent and low voice, came to speak with me. Until now I’ve always managed to pull through with very basics answers like “Yes, you are right” or “it’s nice”…
Another disturbing experience was in a restaurant where I asked what was the ingredient snow pea? I was given the French name by an English person and was embarrassed because I didn’t know that word. Seeing my non-understanding the French owner said in French “Oh come on, you don’t know the mange-tout?”. I was forced to lie in order not to admit my ignorance. It appears that we call it differently in my family.
With time, I started to be confused between English and French words, with sometime a lapse of memory. The worst was that I couldn’t translate as I wanted into French the sights during visits with French people, though I understood it. I’m also a bit upset about the difficulty I have to suddenly speak in English after having spoken French the past few hours. I feel like a beginner in those moments although I know that I can speak far better because I did it a lot of time. I suppose it’s just a step to pass. In addition I have noticed that the people know my nationality just by sight, I must be a living cliché.
By the way, I met the cliché of the old lady who can’t stand anything. A very non-welcoming old woman who lives below the flat I’ve just moved into came to my door and without saying hello threaten me to call the landlord because some ashes have been falling on her balcony, she even said me the brand of the cigarettes. She wouldn’t believe me when I told her that I don’t smoke and that my flat mate smokes only in his room. She left furious without a polite word. To think that we are taught to respect old people when we are young.
Unlike that case, I noticed that British people talk easily with people they don’t know, mostly in Pub. But you have to get your ears and voice militarily trained to listen under a constant sound of 100 decibel in those places. Maybe it’s why the American military are always yelling? The Pub culture, who knows? And sometimes, drunken people speak and ask you strange and funny questions like two girls who asked which one of them was looks the most like Jacques Chirac or an old man who told me that God spoke to him in Avignon.