Soukaina el Mahfoud: the moments I spent during the internship were memorable

June 2, 2020

Soukaina el Mahfoud, student at ISIC, in Morocco, was interning at 1538 Méditerranée, a French media in Marseille, in March and April 2020, during the Covid-19 epidemic. She recounts her experience.

“As a middle-class student, I never thought of doing an internship abroad without a scholarship, because it is expensive, and my parents cannot pay it. CFI, in collaboration with Campus France, gave me this opportunity to do an internship in a foreign media, to travel to a country that I am visiting for the first time, to see how journalists work and how they process information, to discover myself, develop my skills and work on my weaknesses.

I arrived in France on March 1st, I was supposed to start the course on March 2nd but the course master - Mrs. Coline Charbonnier - told me that I could start on March 3rd after having rested and inquired about means of transportation. Such kindness! During our first meeting, she invited me to coffee to welcome me. Then, we went around to see the offices, it allowed me to quickly integrate and adapt. The rest of the 1538 Méditerranée team was on a mission to cover what was happening in the different countries of the Mediterranean: Syria, Greece, Algeria, France, Lebanon…
I was greeted with great kindness and warmth by all the journalists. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to act and put my training into practice in such a medium.

From the first days, Madame Charbonnier and I set a work schedule, for example, Monday, March 9 at 3 p.m.: Grenouille radio recording; Tuesday, March 10 from 1 to 3 pm: media workshop for the benefit of students of the Lycée Blaise Pascal on information sources… We discussed the potential subjects to be treated on the theme of migrations in Marseille with a written report and a video part.
From March 30 to April 5, there was the Aflam festival, I had interviews to prepare with directors, but with the Covid-19 pandemic, all our activities were canceled.Being confined, in a foreign country, was extremely difficult to accept.

Indeed, on March 17, 2020, 16 days after my arrival, France decreed the containment of the population to control the spread of the virus. I don't know how to describe to you what I felt. Being confined, all alone, far from my loved ones, in a foreign country, was extremely difficult to accept.

However, I continued to write papers and articles from home on the Coronavirus in my country of origin, Morocco. My experience in teleworking went well thanks to the support, motivation, and help of Madame Charbonnier with whom I regularly took stock by email and WhatsApp. I wrote an article on the Coronavirus in Morocco.
I had to do interviews and talks through the WhatsApp social network, collect testimonials, and ask my contacts to take photos of the deserted cities because of the strict confinement measures put in place by the Moroccan authorities… It was challenging.

All the moments I spent during the internship were memorable. Each day was unique, rich in information and new practices acquired. The day when my first article was published on the media website 1538 Mediterranean was very special, it was a real source of pride for me. I shared it with my family and friends, they were all proud of me. The confinement period was the most difficult since I felt that I had not done all the things that I had planned, like the realization of the video reports.It was the experience of first times.

This internship was my first internship abroad because the opportunity had never arisen before. I did not want to miss this chance to live this unique professional and human experience. It was the experience of first times: visa, exit from Morocco, living alone, foreign media. It is an opportunity served on a golden tray that allows a journalist to highlight his skills in a foreign media, consider new challenges, get out of his comfort zone, and push his limits furthermore."