Students Fluent in Foreign Languages Land Impressive Internships

When Martina Elliott sought an internship, she was looking for more from UT than just business experience. She also wanted to test her fluency in German.

She found the perfect combination when she landed a summer internship in the commodities purchasing department at Volkswagen Group of America in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Elliott, of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, is a junior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She’s majoring in German and world studies through the Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures and World Business program.

Elliott is one of nine students from the program who are working at summer internships where they are getting hands-on experience in business while applying their foreign language skills.

“I hope to learn how a real-world business works, especially one who interacts with other cultures,” said Elliot. “Since Volkswagen is a German automotive company, having strong German language skills is very important as there are many interactions with the headquarters in Germany. Most of the people in authority are either fluent in German or are from Germany.”

Xylina Marshall, who graduated in May, is honing her Italian skills by participating in the VoluntarItaly program in Northern Italy. VoluntarItaly is a program that recruits only 50 students studying Italian to serve as counselors at church-run summer camps. Marshall will be assisting with the recreational and educational activities of the camps while living in an Italian household.

“Ultimately, I settled into this program due to my newfound love of Italian language and culture,” said Marshall. “I hope to develop my expertise in Italian culture so I may serve there in years to come.”

Alyssa Frohock

Alyssa Frohock- LWB-Hispanic Studies student on left (blonde) with Raquel Sánchez Santos, Chief Surgeon (right) at the hospital where Alyssa interned: Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Pontevedra, in Spain (name of hospital)

Other students in the program are gaining business and language experience at internships at home and around the world:

  • Yelena Aliy, a senior from Powell, Tennessee, majoring in Hispanic studies and world business, is interning with Hola Hora Latina. The local nonprofit organization promotes building bridges between Latinos and the larger community, and is responsible for the popular annual Hola Festival in Knoxville.
  • Alyssa Frohock, a junior from Newington, Connecticut, majoring in Hispanic studies and world business, is interning in a hospital in Pontevedra, Spain, with the Atlantis Project PreHealth program.
  • Spencer Hinton, a senior from Hendersonville, Tennessee, majoring in Japanese and world business, is interning with DeRoyal Industries in Powell, Tennessee alongside their marketing group. DeRoyal Industries is a nationally renowned local manufacturer of medical devices and health care products.
  • Duncan R. Johnson, a junior from Rockville, Maryland, majoring in Hispanic studies and world business, is also interning with Hola Hora Latina.
  • Laura Lauder, a senior from Franklin, Tennessee, majoring in Japanese and world business, is interning with U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Previously, she interned with DeRoyal Industries in international marketing. She also has a second major in political science and a minor in French.
  • Kiersten R. Ray, a junior from Knoxville majoring in French with an international retail merchandising concentration and world business, is interning at Corporate Clothing USA in their headquarters in Knoxville. She specifically works with supply chain, selling, and foreign communication at the local startup.

By Catherine Willis