2017 Internship at the Italian Trade Agency in New York

Italian Language and Culture...Put to Work

Montclair State student Emma Rush, a double major in Italian and Justice Studies, has recently completed the first half of her 2017-18 Internship in Italian Business. During the summer, Emma worked at the Italian Trade Agency in New York as part of a broader initiative linking the study of the Italian language and culture with the Made in Italy business sector.

“In just two months at the Italian Trade Agency in New York I have learned a lot more about the Italian culture, the language, and myself than I would have ever thought,” Emma stated in her final report. “The purpose of an internship is to work in an organization in order to gain professional experience and satisfy requirements for a qualification, which I did by looking over contracts, writing reports about retailers and introduction to catalogs, and working on economic profiles for states. But the true learning lies underneath the list of things I had to complete. There were emails, conversations, and a ton of research that all contributed to my growth as a professional and as a person.”

Emma was put to work on a wide range of assignments such as contacting Italian designers for the Women Expo, writing the intro to the ITA catalog for the Fabric of Cultures Exhibit, as well as revising contracts and reports. "One of the most interesting projects I worked on was creating an introduction to a catalog regarding Italian Fabrics. The companies that were included in the catalog all emphasized sustainability and workers’ rights which tapped perfectly into my Major in Justice Studies." Emma received praise from Ferdinando Gueli, Head of Information, Investments and Start Up, and Alessandro Greco, Emma’s direct supervisor and Head of the Fashion Sector at ITA: they both played a key role in the success of this internship as they fully understood the shared goals in this new collaborative initiative.

Thanks to this experience, Emma Rush gained more confidence with her skills in Italian and was able to bring them into her everyday life: “Working in an area like New York City gave me an opportunity to use what I learned inside the office and take it to the streets. I went to a few Italian restaurants with co-workers and wasn’t shy about speaking Italian and was able to negotiate the meaning of what I was trying to get across.”

“The lessons taught at the Italian Program at Montclair State such as what Made in Italy signifies, Italy as an G-7 country, the sustainability movement, and the Italian culture in general are enlightening material to give substance to the comprehension of the language,” Emma concluded. “All of these topics were covered within my time at ITA in one fashion or another. Taking everything that I learned into consideration, I am most grateful for the opportunity to see what a degree in Italian is able to accomplish.”

This internship was made possible by a $5,000 Lawrence R. Inserra Jr. Scholarship, which is administered via the Montclair State U Foundation and the Inserra Chair. "Majors in Italian at MSU - and even more so double majors - are extremely fortunate as they can take advantage of pre-professional programs that bring together their different forms of knowledge and transform them into expertise in the professional world they will soon join," Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair) pointed out. "Our main donor, Mr. Inserra, who in his capacity as an established businessman and a MSU Board of Trustees member understands the challenges and opportunities of both the marketplace and the education field, has allowed the Italian Program at MSU to respond in concrete and innovative ways to the pressing question: 'What is the role of foreign languages and cultures in today's university studies?' (to read about other internships, click here). The creation of the Inserra Endowed Chair has defined a space of fruitful experimentation to address this question in the specific field of Italian and Italian American Studies, and we are fortunate to be able to develop new programs such as this internship in collaboration with a prestigious partner such the Italian Trade Agency and its director Maurizio Forte."

The second part of this internship will take place at another prestigious office, Choose New Jersey located in Princeton, NJ, during Winter and Spring 2018. In this equally dynamic environment the intern's skills will be applied to Italian business in the specific context of New Jersey which hosts one of the largest concentrations of Italian business headquarters in the U.S.

In the photo: Emma Rush (in the black dress), Francesca Maniscalco, Francesca Costa, Mariella Terminello and Claudia Schirripa of the Fashion Sector at ITA.
Photo credit: Emma Rush
Click here to see photo album