Internship Spotlight

Basia-Marie Diagne

Intern at Little Africa Paris

Internships are a great opportunity to apply what you learn in the classroom to life in the “real world.” Here, History, Law, and Society and Gender Studies minor Basia-Marie Diagne tells us all about her internship at Little Africa in Paris. She learned the protocol necessary to conduct laboratory experiments, and discovered a passion for science and developed a renewed respect for the scientific method along the way. 


Tell us a little bit about your background? 

I'm originally from Senegal and the U.S. However, as a child of diplomats, I was born in Kenya and lived in Senegal, Tanzania, and Nepal before eventually making my way to Paris. 

Which company/organization are you currently interning with? 

The organization I interned for is called Little Africa, a cultural tourism and publishing agency that connects individuals, associations and businesses with African culture in Paris. As a small cultural and tourism agency, Little Africa’s activities predominantly involve guiding tours across Paris’ African neighborhoods, exposing tourists to the often-hidden side of the Parisian afro-community. 

The agency also quickly evolved into a publishing house, publishing its first City Guide detailing all the African owned and inspired boutiques, shops, restaurants, museums and more in Paris. Soon after the agency launched its online website and began producing and sharing content detailing various sectors of interest pertaining to the diaspora, such as art, culture, music, dance, identity and more. 

Where is your internship taking place?  

My internship took place in Paris, allowing me to extend my student status and gain the valuable experience of working for the first time for a French company based in France. I enjoyed the experience of working in a business setting while connecting culture with tourism. 

What is your job title?   

While working for Little Africa I was the project manager for a and managed their digital communications. I worked on various projects and with Little Africa's network all over Paris, as well as strategizing and carrying out a digital communications crowdfunding campaign in which we successfully raised 40,000 euros to open a new cultural space and hub in the La Goutte d'Or district of Paris. 

What types of responsibilities and/or tasks do you have in your internship? What's a typical day for you like?  

A typical day varied throughout my internship. At the beginning we were just kicking off the crowdfunding season which required a heavy focus on community management and reaching out to our network in order to stimulate support for this community-oriented project. Towards the end of my internship the new space had been acquired and the renovations were just beginning, allowing us to focus on carrying out other projects connecting with other African creatives across Europe to produce content centered around the African diaspora in Europe and the role this plays in giving voice to the narratives of black persons across the continent. 

What language(s) are you speaking/using in your internship?  

The team at Little Africa was international and bilingual, so I alternated between English and French on a daily basis depending on which team members I was communicating with. 

Tell us about your future goals/aspirations. Is this internship relevant? Do you think it will help you along the way?  

This internship was a great stepping stone that challenged me and allowed me to explore different interests of mine. Working for a cultural agency based in Paris, particularly one focused on African history and culture, allowed me to carry out my interests in the social and cultural implications of existing in the scope of race, nationality, ethnicity and other social dimensions, which initially took me to Cape Town, South Africa a semester before graduating.  

I worked with a strong yet small team, which provided me with the opportunity to actively participate in day to day flow of the business, which allowed me to be exposed to the entrepreneurial lifestyle and spirit, which requires great resiliency, focus and dedication I have learned. 
I am honored to have had this experience, my relationships with the Little Africa team remains strong and I look forward to seeing the new boutique open soon!