Internship Spotlight

Sara Stokes

Intern at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.

While about 67% of students who register internships with The American University of Paris choose to stay local and complete their internships in Paris, some return to their hometowns, and others travel somewhere new in order to absorb a different culture. AUP students are global explorers and AUP alumni live and work in 142 countries, covering just about every corner of the globe, so it’s no surprise that our students use their internships to travel and explore.

Sara Stokes shares her experience interning with Al Akhawayn University in Ifrance, Morocco. 


Tell us a little bit about your background.

I am from Decatur, Illinois in the United States. Then, I moved to Paris to pursue a degree. After I graduated, I moved to Morocco. I've been living in Ifrane, about an hour outside of Fes.


Which company/organization are you currently interning with?

Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. 


Where is your internship taking place?

Ifrane, Morocco. 


When is your internship taking place?

The internship lasts one full academic year. I started in September of 2017, so my contract will end in June of 2018.


What is your job title?

 Presidential Intern in the Center for Learning Excellence.


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

At the Center for Learning Excellence (CLE), I wear a lot of hats. My primary responsibility is data analysis. I track the impact of CLE tutoring on student success, and I present that data in reports that are given to the President and the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Additionally, I represent the CLE and the Writing Center at campus events and open houses. I coordinate the day-to-day activity in the Writing Center, including hiring and training student tutors, holding tutors and tutees accountable for being prepared and on time for their sessions, advising students in their search for a tutor, and fielding comments, concerns, and suggestions from both students and tutors. I worked closely with the CLE coordinators to organize a joint training between CLE tutors and Writing Center tutors. I facilitate bi-weekly training sessions for the writing tutors in order to continually assess their skills as writers and as tutors. I have organized events for the Writing Center (team bonding, feedback sessions, and open-door tutoring events), and assisted in organizing similar events for the CLE.


What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve experienced during your internship?

When I first arrived, I was very nervous about my ability to perform the tasks I was hired to do. I knew that I had the necessary skills to perform data analysis, but I still wasn't sure what expectations my supervisors would have for me or what the working environment would be like. 

The spring semester was a turning point for me. I took on many more responsibilities within my office, as well as in the greater AUI community. I started leading English Conversation Groups, working as a substitute teacher, and coordinating the Writing Center. I gained confidence in myself, my teaching abilities, and my data analysis skills. My biggest success was overcoming my own insecurities and recognizing myself as an integral member of the CLE team.


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

The official language of instruction at AUI is English, so that's the primary language used for communication. We also use French in conversation and with prospective students and students' families. I am studying Arabic, so I try to practice often with my coworkers and other staff members.


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

This internship has shown me how much I love working in student services. This is work that I can imagine myself doing forever. I don't know exactly what I want to do, but I plan to continue working in higher education in some capacity.


Anything else to share?

The thing I've loved the most about this internship is how dynamic it's been. I've been given the opportunity to travel all over Morocco, study Arabic, and gain professional experience. My favorite parts of the internship were outside my office. I worked as a substitute teacher at Al Akhawayn School of Ifrane in the kindergarten classroom - 4 days with 18 five year olds, it was a wild week! I also planned and facilitated English Conversation Groups for Language Center students three nights a week.