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Internship experiences in the U.S.A.

About my boss at The Times Record

On July 19, 2001, the third day in Maine for me, I visited The Times Record with my internship coordinator for the first time.

Bike path, Brunswick, MaineSince my supervisor, managing editor, Jim, was in the meeting, the city editor, Tom, showed us sections such as advertising, Internet, pre-press, composing, and administration. Finally we went to the newsroom where I worked for ten months. I talked with almost everyone in the company, and was asked many questions in rapid succession: "What type of news are you interested in?", "What type of genre of the newspaper would you like to deal with?" "What type of educational materials did you produce in your former publisher in Japan?" It was natural that they were Americans, and they spoke so fast in perfect American English, using many technical jargon related to the newspaper.

In fact, I had been confident about speaking English, before I came to The Times Record. Since I was producing English educational materials at work in Japan, it was easy for me to book hotels or restaurants or even complain about my room to the hotel front in English. I was also very familiar with American English, because American English is the standard English we learn at schools. However, I was overwhelmed soon. I found that English used in the newspaper was much more difficult than that I have used in travels, losing all of my confidence.

Maine Street, Brunswick, MaineLater, Jim and I discussed the plan of my internship. He said, "I am not sure what you would like to learn from The Times Record and what you can do for the company. But we really hope to respect your interests, and hope that this internship would be enjoyable and rewarding for both of us." At that time, I just thought he often use words like "interest" or something, and did not notice how much he was a great boss for me.

I guess that it might be hard for Jim to teach me, a person from a different country, a person who did not have any experiences or knowledges in the newspaper industries. He always taught me patiently, and suggested me many things. I learned a lot about how to write English columns, how to interview people, and many cultural differences from him.

For me, it was much harder to work using only English than I first thought. I sometimes was faced with unpredictable problems that happened from the cultural differences. I even did not know what was the common knowledge in the US. Now I feel, they might not have such common ideas, because America is a country with people from various countries. Anyway, we tried to communicate well, because it was the only way to solve problems.

On the first day Jim also said to me, "You are brave. You did not have any acquaintances in Maine. You did not have any acquaintances in The Times Record. But you came." I was not brave. I just could not imagine what would happen when I applied for the position. I always think I will be okay. Actually I was able to be okay and complete my internship. But now I think I was just lucky to meet nice bosses, friends, and readers.

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