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2017 Internship at the Italian Trade Agency in New York and Choose New Jersey in Princeton

Italian Language and Culture…Put to Work

Posted in: Inserra, Italian News and Events, World Languages and Cultures

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Montclair State student Emma Rush, a double major in Italian and Justice Studies, has recently completed the 2017 Internship in Italian Business. During the summer, Emma worked at the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) in New York and during the winter-spring of 2018 she interned at Choose New Jersey (CNJ) in Princeton, NJ. The latter portion also included a business trip to Italy with meetings in major cities. The internship is part of a broader initiative linking the study of the Italian language and culture with the Made in Italy business sector.

At ITA 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.

“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.”

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.”

For the second part of this internship, Emma’s skills were 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. At CNJ Emma primarily focused on planning a business trip to Italy for the Select USA Seminars in late February and early March 2018. Thanks to a prize she had previously won at a video contest sponsored by the Inserra Chair (see UNESCO contest), Emma was able to join the traveling team made up of her CNJ supervisor, Margie Piliere (Chief Economic Development Officer), and Peter Coats (Senior Economic Development Associate). The team traveled to Torino, Verona, Firenze, and Bologna for a series of meetings with a total of 30 Italian companies that are already investing in the U.S. or are interested in expanding their activities through a NJ location. Emma translated marketing material into Italian to better serve the companies that were interested in coming to New Jersey. For example, she worked on a 20-page booklet highlighting areas of strength in the state such as Logistics, Food, Life Sciences, Technology and Financial Services. After the trip, she assisted CNJ in relaying information back to the Italian companies they had met.

“The lessons taught at the Italian Program at Montclair State such as what Made in Italy signifies, Italy as a 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 and CNJ 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?’ (read about other internships). 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 prestigious partners like the Italian Trade Agency and Choose New Jersey.”

In the featured photo on top: Emma Rush (in the black dress), Francesca Maniscalco, Francesca Costa, Mariella Terminello and Claudia Schirripa of the Fashion Sector at ITA.

Photos on the bottom: Presentations and NJ stand as part of the CNJ Select USA seminars in Italy.

Photo credit: Emma Rush
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