Mari Lentini is a graduating senior in the Language and International Trade (L&IT) program. She studied in France, interned with the U.S. Department of State, and is President of the French Professional Society. Let’s learn more about Mari and her accomplishments.
Where are you from and why did you choose to come to Clemson?
I am from Houston, Texas, although for the past couple of years, my home has been Maggie Valley in the mountains of western North Carolina. It’s about two hours away from Clemson and I chose Clemson because of its close proximity and how the Language and International Trade major combined a language program with business courses. The versatility of the L&IT program to achieve and apply language mastery in the global marketplace is incredible – my L&IT friends have followed their passions into industries such as commerce and trade, fashion, government and politics, teaching, nonprofit work, and more.
How would you describe yourself? What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a curious person and like to learn new concepts and explore new places. My frequent travel experiences taught me how to plan ahead and be organized as well as to be adaptable and spontaneous. In my free time, I enjoy running, studying new languages, hiking, and going to concerts.
Why did you select your major(s)? Have you studied abroad or done internships related to your studies?
I knew that I wanted to study abroad while in college. I absolutely could not wait to go to France and use French in my daily life. L&IT really interested me because in addition to the class requirements, there are two education enrichment requirements: one is to study abroad in a country with your target language and the second is to complete an internship at a company that uses your language. These components demonstrated to me that Clemson cared about my growth and development in language and cultural fluency.
My minor is in Global Politics, which shaped my study abroad experience. I completed two study abroad programs back-to-back. First, in winter 2017 with the Institute of American Universities College, I had the amazing opportunity to explore how American diplomacy and its institutions are implemented abroad, specifically in Morocco, Belgium, and France. This included understanding the structure of U.S. embassies, meeting with diplomats at the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca, the U.S. Mission to the EU, and the U.S. Mission to NATO, and visiting non-governmental organizations to grasp the effectiveness of the track II diplomacy approach in assisting with conflict resolution and the achievement of foreign policy goals.
Immediately following this, I studied for a full semester in the south of France with IAU College at Aix-en-Provence. I did a homestay to fully immerse myself in the French language and culture. My classes included courses such as Arabic (at the moment, Arabic is not offered at Clemson, so I jumped on the opportunity to learn a new language while abroad!), International Economics and the EU, and French Children’s Literature, to name a few.
If you would like to read more about my experiences and see pictures, feel free to check out my study abroad blog: www.aixperiencefrance.wordpress.com.
For my internship, I interned in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Department of State in Summer 2018. I was an Orientation intern at the Foreign Service Institute. Orientation, colloquially known as A-100, for newly-hired U.S. diplomats is where they learn more about the State Department and skills they need to be successful for their career in the Foreign Service. I helped to coordinate and participate in their workshops, and this experience provided invaluable insight in my decision to pursue a future in foreign policy.
What advice would you give to other students in your major?
I would encourage students to develop strong and meaningful relationships with one another and their faculty. Get to know your advisor and other people in the major early on inside and outside of the classroom – the Introduction to L&IT class is a great place to start as well as your language’s professional society. Participate in your language club’s events, like the film showings and their conversation tables. Reach out to past students who have gone abroad or interned and hear why they picked the city or program that they did, and then continue to stay in touch with them!
Are you involved in any extra-curricular organizations, and what is your role?
I am someone who likes to be busy and involved in my community, and I am still discovering new clubs that match my interests in languages, foreign policy, and music. Currently, I am the President of the French Professional Society and am helping to plan the upcoming L&IT conference in March 2019. I also am a delegate for the university’s Model United Nations team and chaired for committees at the Clemson University Model United Nations Conference and a French collegiate conference in Aix-en-Provence. I serve in the judicial branch of Student Government and manage finances for my service sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma. I also love concerts and country music, which is why I became part of CMA EDU. As Vice President of Special Events, I help to plan and coordinate the events for our members, including opportunities to learn more about careers in the music industry and the business side of it from professionals.
What are your future plans?
I am searching for a business or foreign policy internship for the upcoming summer. I am also in the process of researching fellowship programs that will help make graduate school more accessible for me. I would love to continue my learning in area studies, specifically in the effects of French colonization on the development of North African societies, or in the field of international law. My dream career is to join the U.S. Department of State as part of their Foreign Service.