This summer, I worked in the Visual Productions department at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland. The National Aquarium is a non-profit public aquarium that provides an opportunity to connect with the life that lives underwater, both in the oceans and the local harbors. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first accepted the position, but not even six hours after I arrived in Baltimore I realized that I was going to have an incredible experience. The night before my first day I received an email that said I would be helping to film sea turtles the Aquarium was rehabilitating the morning of the first day, and soon after that I was told I’d be going on a four day trip to Delaware to help film an educational camp the Aquarium provided to inner-city kids. Later, I helped to take photographs at a turtle surgery–I didn’t even know those happened. This isn’t even including all of the experience I gained with filming equipment and editing software. I had no idea how accommodating and incredibly helpful my mentors would be. My mentors hadn’t met me yet and I was already being offered these mind-blowing opportunities. This internship was invaluable to me, and initially, I wasn’t even going to apply. I didn’t feel like I had enough experience, nor was I completely comfortable living in an unfamiliar city. So, one of the most important things I learned was to just take a risk–maybe you’ll get a turtle surgery out of it.
My internship was with an international architectural design firm in Prague, Czech Republic, where I was taught advanced skills in Photoshop and AutoCad that allowed me to help redesign the PRG International Airport and construct a future Olympic-sized stadium for the Czech Republic. My internship also gave me the opportunity to participate in research with highly esteemed architecture professors and allowed two of my papers to be published in international architecture magazines. My internship in Prague this past summer was my first time traveling outside of the United States. Becoming an architect has always been my dream and Prague was the best possible city in the world for me to gain the necessary experience. Prague showcases a myriad of architectural styles, such as romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque, and cubism, coexisting side by side in the compact capital. The city is truly a pleasure for all–historians, tourists, and especially students of architecture. Prague is literally a textbook of styles throughout the centuries. Because I had very little experience with the Czech language, my translation guide was basically like my Bible. After forgetting my backpack (with my maps and translation guide) on the tram, I discovered, to my horror, that I was in the middle of the Czech capitol without any direction. But, as it turns out, Prague is the one city it is actually enjoyable to be lost in.