Internship Reflection Article by Victoria Kasznica Summer 2014

My summer internship working for the Patrons of the Arts at the Vatican Museums has been transformative in every sense of the word, both from a personal and professional standpoint. As I complete the final few days of my internship and return to the United States to complete my final year of schooling, I will be leaving Rome carrying much more than my two suitcases. I carry friendships I forged with my fellow interns and other co-workers that I hope to maintain. I carry a knowledge of Italian art history and an Italian art lexicon that, considering my strict languages background, I never dreamed of acquiring. I carry a few more months of experience living in a foreign country that, though thousands of miles away from America, is now as close to my heart as my own home. Finally, from the Patrons internship, I carry away newly-gained knowledge of how to function and thrive in a collaborative work environment as well as invaluable experience as a translator and editor. Up until this internship, I was primarily accustomed to doing independent work. Throughout the course of my primary and secondary education as well as my music career, the game was very simple. I was taught that the time and effort I spent working on an essay, assignment, or musical piece would be reflected in the finished product. I would oversee the completion of a task from start to finish and ask for help and advice only when I most needed it. While this individualistic approach permitted for a good amount of autonomy and promoted self-reliance and determination, I now realize that it had its shortcomings. It is an approach that sheltered me from the challenge of engaging the innovative ideas and opinions of those around me. I have come to recognize that it is the willingness to entertain new ideas that nourishes knowledge and fosters appreciation and respect for that what may, at the time, seem unfamiliar and daunting to us. Arriving at the Patrons Office, I quickly learned that the job was all about cooperation, teamwork, and division of labor; the atmosphere was starkly different from the competitive, individualistic one I had so frequently encountered in the past. Consequently, I was quickly obliged to abandon my prior conditioning and to make some drastic changes to my work attitude. I concede that this was not easy. At first, nothing irritated me more than having to take orders and occasionally being told to start on a new task while leaving another unfinished…or worse yet, allowing colleagues to complete certain assignments, such as the edits for the texts I translated. For me, anything that either directly or indirectly causes a loss of control, triggers feelings of discontentment and distress. Little by little, however, as I started to gain trust in the capabilities and good intentions of those around me, things began to go more smoothly. By consulting together and setting our personal differences aside, my fellow interns and I were able to navigate around obstacles, find creative solutions to the problems that arose, and help the Patrons of the Arts organization in a constructive and efficient way. I would say that, on the whole, I managed to adapt rather well to the new work environment. What fascinates me most about my Patrons of the Arts job was my role translating and editing articles for the Wishbook as well as Fr. Mark’s upcoming book Angels: Mediations on Vatican Art. While at the basic level, I was merely translating fragments of Italian text into English, incorporating and eliminating a few words here and there, and restructuring sentences; however, I soon learned that I was, in effect, doing much more. I was bridging the language and communication gap between the native Italian authors of the texts and the Anglophone readers of the Patrons of the Arts publications. Furthermore, I was taking the knowledge of art history scholars and restoration experts and, through careful selection of vocabulary and stylistic modifications, making the information readily accessible and more appealing to those who know little or nothing about the field. I sincerely wish that my contributions to the Patrons of the Arts publications will help the organization in its mission to promote a deeper connection between individuals and the artwork housed within the Vatican Museums. I hope that when people, regardless of their background, race, or country of origin, leaf through the Wishbooks original message. It is the essence of the text that matters most and what must be transmitted as the text is translated across different languages The Patrons internship has been a beautiful experience, one that has allowed me to grow as a person and as a scholar. Few individuals can say that they worked with a team of warm, intelligent, and spirited people in an idyllically-situated office, surrounded by some of the world’s premier artwork. Fewer still can say that they were privy to a VIP, insider’s tour of the ongoing restoration of the Borgia apartments or the excavations at the Santa Rosa Necropolis. Should the Patrons of the Arts ever need language, translating, and editing assistance in the future, I will be delighted to help out in any way possible.