Emily Bianconi, a BA Curating student, completed an internship in New York during the summer of her second year.
On the 1st of July 2022 I left for New York, for an experience that would change my life. I was there for just over a month, working in the education department of the Queens Museum. The opportunity came earlier in the year when I had the idea to do an internship abroad. By speaking to my tutor about it, she told me about an opportunity that was intended for 3rd year students but hadn’t had much attention from them. When she told me about it, I immediately knew it was perfect for me. I was a little tight with the application deadlines as I love a lastminute idea but fortunately I managed to send all the documents on time. The study abroad team at Goldsmiths are very helpful and quick to respond so it makes it a lot easier and less stressful to apply and have everything you need prepared for your departure.
When we got there, the staff at the Queens Museum had an induction day prepared for all the summer interns. They showed us around the museum, introduced us to all the people working there and guided us through their policies and projects for the future. I was placed in the education department where I had a desk and a supervisor. They were all very friendly and open to hearing our ideas and points of view. Me and the other girl working in the same sector ended up taking over a project and having our own space to completely organise an event aimed at starting conversations between teenagers around topics that are important to them. We also got the chance to help with all the events going on in the museum during the month. This was valuable as we got to test out other positions within the institution.
We were asked to come to the museum 3 mornings a week and join online for the other 2, plus attending the bigger events that were happening that were going on all day long. They were very flexible and told us this was mainly a guideline and that they understood the importance of exploring the city as well. We were free to organise our days however we preferred as long as they were informed. A typical day consisted in going to the museum around 10am, doing research for the projects, helping with some workshops for kids (these were happening everyday throughout the summer), getting things sorted or prepared for the bigger events and then leaving at around 3pm. From there it was either straight into exploration mode or a little stop at home to get changed/refreshed and then out to see the city. New York is incredible during the summer, every park has a program of free activities spacing from concerts to wellness so you always have something to do. I also took the time to see pretty much everything I could possibly see.
I am and I will always believe in travelling and experiencing different cultures and places.
Therefore, I was immediately drawn to the idea of doing an internship abroad, but I would have never imagined how amazing it could turn out to be. You develop so many skills that you would never be able to acquire at home. You get to meet so many new and inspiring people that have nothing to do with who you normally interact with. You get to see how things work in other places, how people approach life and everything that comes with it, it makes you grow in so many different directions without giving you a harsh lesson (in most cases), it opens your eyes to the endless possibilities of life.
I mean… I got to see New York, that I only ever dreamed of doing and while working in an amazing cultural institution like the Queens Museum. Without forgetting how difficult it is to get an opportunity like this in general not just overseas. On top of everything, I was able to organise an event for them and work directly with one of my favourite artists. Even writing about it now, feels surreal.
I think you have nothing to lose and all to gain with an experience abroad and the fact that the university helps you financially and with all the paperwork makes it all a lot easier. It can be stressful preparing for it but you won’t regret it.
For me, the whole process was quite smooth, I was lucky to become really good friends with one of the other girls interning with me so we would go on adventures together every day, but if I could give you a piece of advice, it is this: go out of your comfort zone, just do it. Enjoy your own company, don’t be afraid to do things by yourself. You have less possibilities to make friends at home than outside and you will have less fun regardless.
On the other hand, if I could give myself a piece of advice, it would be to have gotten the idea a little earlier so I wouldn’t have had to rush myself through the organisational part.