CAPA Florence Internship Site Supervisor Interview: Alexandra Korey from Flod
Meet Alexandra, a CAPA internship site supervisor at Flod in Florence. She wears many hats around the office and interns do the same. There's plenty of room to explore your personal interests here too, as her story below about Catie Horseman shows. And not to worry if your Italian is a bit rusty; the office functions in English. Below, Alexandra talks about preparing for your internship interview, the type of tasks CAPA interns might be involved in and a bit about the area around the Flod office (with a bonus peek inside!).
CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourself and your interests outside of work.
ALEXANDRA KOREY: My name is Alexandra Korey, I'm originally from Toronto Canada, and I moved to Florence to study abroad for my Masters in art history in 1999. I was back and forth to the States for a while getting my PhD, and moved to Florence permanently soon after. I started my career in study abroad teaching, but meanwhile my blog, ArtTrav, was becoming increasingly popular and that opened up a new career path for me in blogging and social media. After a stint working for the official tourism website of the region of Tuscany, I landed here at Flod, a communications company that has the same ownership as the news magazine The Florentine.
Photo: The Florentine staff jumping in the piazza
CW: What is Flod? What is your role within the company?
AK: In Flod, I'm in charge of projects that have to do with social media, crowdfunding or are in the cultural field. We're not a huge company so our roles are not very clearly divided, many of us have overlapping tasks and we tend to have a range of skills - like, I may be a social media manager in some ways, but I'm also a photographer and I can also develop your entire communications campaign! I'm at the head of a small team of people learning the ropes of social media, and we manage the online channels of numerous clients.
Photo: A goodbye lunch for CAPA intern Catie Horseman
CW: Describe a typical interview with a CAPA intern. What are some examples of questions they should be prepared to answer? What else is important for them to keep in mind when preparing for their interview?
AK: We take interns every semester from many schools around Florence, and CAPA is one of them. I like to see an intern who has read our website and who can tell me what they think Flod does. Our website is currently only in Italian so that's a fun challenge :). I like to know what they've studied and why they'd be interested in working for a communications company, and if they use social media on a personal or professional level, or have had internships that have given them some experience about this. I also always ask for a test assignment that involves writing a small text for Facebook; this gives me a sense of their ability to synthesize a concept into proper social language. They also need to have a really good writing ability in general, so I like to see an essay or article even before interviewing.
Photo: Goodbye lunch for a few interns
CW:What is the language level required of American interns who come to you through CAPA? Share a tip or two for learning Italian!
AK: It's useful if an intern has already studied a few semesters of Italian, though it's not totally necessary. Our office functions in English, although the "bosses" are Italian, so the intern will get the fullest experience if he or she can also speak some Italian, or at least have a good reading knowledge of it. This means they can also do more helpful things like research for articles on the internet through sources in Italian. My interns that don't speak Italian can be really useful too, though!
Photo: The team outside the office door
CW: What sort of tasks will CAPA interns be given?
AK: It really depends on his or her skills. I like to get to know the intern's interests and what skills they want to learn, though we also have to prioritize making the best use of their natural or learned abilities, because I really do need their help - this is not a busy-work internship. If she's great at computer usage, I might have her update stuff on one of the wordpress websites we manage. If she's a great writer, she'll be writing articles, where the type of content is going to depend on Italian ability or lack thereof. If he's more comfortable with photography, he might be sent out to take photos, or dedicate a lot of time to Instagram and Pinterest. The basic task that all my interns do is a LOT of work for our clients' Instagram accounts, because their growth is important and that takes a lot of time, but not really high skill.
Photo: A little office fun with some creative head swaping!
CW: What are your main expectations of CAPA interns in the office? What personality traits, interests and skills would make a student the best fit for you organization?
AK: I like students that are quick to learn, good natured and happy to be here. They should be super connected people, able to respond to email from their phones within a few hours even when they're not in the office. Our best interns have really been part of the team.
Photo: CAPA intern Steven Bramel
CW: Share an example of an impact a CAPA intern was able to make or something they contributed during their time at Flod that still helps your business today.
AK: There are so many positive intern stories from past years. Steven came from CAPA last semester and everyone loved him. He rather quietly sat down and did a lot of work; one member of my team, Vincenzo, asked if we could keep him forever. Steven also brought sweets into the office on a pretty constant basis and everyone loved that :).
Catie Horseman, from a few years ago, is one of my most memorable interns ever. A few days into the internship, she mentioned that she was an Irish dancer and how she'd love to teach a class in this here in Florence. Being also a newspaper, The Florentine, we said anything is possible. This is a great example of an intern's personal skills being put to good use. We literally sent her down to the Irish pub in the piazza below and she organized an Irish dance night. We did a promo video for her, and she did a ton of promotion to her friends at school, and between that and the newspaper, we ended up with 80 people at the pub learning funny dance steps.
Here's the video!
CW: What can CAPA interns expect to learn from their experience at Flod?
AK: Gosh! Uh... how to use Instagram really really well? Internships are what you make it! One intern who is now at the senate in Washington once claimed I taught him everything he knows. I doubt that very much.
CW: Tell us about the area surrounding the Flod office.
AK: Our office is awesome in itself. It's in a 16th century building and it's decorated all funky. We're right downtown, just outside is piazza santa maria Novella, which has a gorgeous church. There are a few good places to pick up lunch nearby. We usually eat it in the office; we enjoy sitting down as a group around 1:15pm, like a real family, and eating together.
Here's our office! You can click on "view on Google Maps" for a 360 view: