“I had to walk 20 minutes to work, often in intense heat, and once during a monsoon--but it was worth it,” said Violet Kupersmith '11, who spent this past summer in Hanoi, Vietnam, working as an editing intern at The Gioi Publishing.
An English major and French minor with an interest in editing and creative writing, Kupersmith found out about the position through the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and thought it would be a great match. The fully funded internship in Hanoi was offered through the MHC International Internship Program (MHC-IIP), and Kupersmith, along with Sharon Ling '12, was chosen to fill the position.
The Gioi is an international publishing house that publishes literature in a variety of genres and languages. Kupersmith and co-intern Ling worked together on editing a series of longer texts, correcting for grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and flow.
Since the position required an extensive amount of reading, Kupersmith recalled feeling as though she were taking a "summerlong course in Vietnamese culture." As part of her position as editorial intern, she read and edited books about Vietnamese art and architecture, as well as memoirs and works of fiction that depicted the effects of the Vietnam War on the Vietnamese people.
"I would like my career to somehow involve publishing," Kupersmith noted, whether she becomes an editor or has her own creative work published.
Kupersmith also plans to incorporate what she learned from her internship at The Gioi Publishing into a creative thesis in English, supervised by her creative writing professor and mentor, Valerie Martin. Her thesis will consist of six to ten short pieces of fiction set in Southeast Asia that focus on the experiences of different generations of a Vietnamese family before, during, and after the Vietnam War.
"It will explore the themes of cross-cultural communications and transgenerational inheritance," said Kupersmith of this project.
Despite the often-treacherous trek to work, Kupersmith enjoyed her summer internship so much that she is now applying for a Fulbright Fellowship that would allow her to return to Vietnam to teach English.
"Working in another country teaches you more about your own language than you would think," Kupersmith advises other English majors interested in spending time abroad. She also encourages students interested in Southeast Asia to visit Hanoi in particular, a city rich with history that she quickly grew to love.