The International Engineering Program at CU was able to find me an internship in Paris, France for the summer of 2010. I worked at l’école nationale supérieure des mines (Mines Paris Tech) which is located in the center of the city. I could – and often did – go get lunch and eat it outside in the Luxembourg Gardens, which border the school; then after work, I could take a 15-minute walk and check out Notre Dame!
My internship was on studying the indoor temperature profiles of residences in France during the winter and determining ways to advise the occupants on how to reduce their heat usage. Based on these temperature profiles and a signal of occupancy, I came up with ways to calculate which message to send to the client, whether they should lower the thermostat during the night or when they leave for work.
I worked in an office with a group of master’s students from all over the world – Italy, Spain, Portugal, Algeria, and Chile. The other friends I made were from Mexico to Ukraine. Paris is such an international city it was sometimes easier to find the foreigners than it was to find the French!
I learned a lot during my internship – not necessarily about heat usage, but about what is involved in research, the French language, and I also learned a lot about myself. I am more confident than ever to go into a job interview and share my experiences!
Living in the middle of what is arguably the most famous city in the world was amazing, but I did take a few trips outside the big city. I traveled for a weekend to Spain, visited Lyon, and even stayed in an 11th century abbey in the tiny village of La Chaise-Dieu, visiting a family friend who happens to be a monk. I will always cherish this experience because it helped me grow both as an engineer and as a person.
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