Foreign internship challenging and rewarding

Lincoln Byrd during his internship at Mexico’s CETE, which in English means Center for Educational Television. Courtesy photo

Getting an opportunity to take part in a prestigious internship abroad would seem like hitting the lottery to some. People could consider it a dream come true or a life-changing moment.

In February, I was looking for programs that I could attend in regards to television, broadcasting and communications, in pursuit of gaining experience for my ultimate goal of becoming a broadcaster. When I didn’t hear back from any of the ones I applied to, I figured I’d just stay in town working at my job to save money for the future.

Well, let’s say that things changed pretty quickly. My mom, who is a Mexican immigrant from Tabasco and who knew my passion and interest, has always found every little excuse to take my brother and I down to Mexico for the summer. As a Mexican American, I’ve gone to Mexico just about every summer with my mom for my whole life.

I was able to get accepted into a course from a Mexican corporation called CETE, which in English means Center for Educational Television. At first I was very skeptical because it seemed like this course was for people who already were professionals, or at least had some experience in the field. I was also nervous because while I am supposedly fluent in Spanish, I knew I was going to have a lot of trouble speaking with the others from the group (which turned out to be true).

When I started, I entered a class about technical functions of a television set. In this course I learned how the professionals do their work. I was able to read a script off a teleprompter while being recorded, and repeat a script from an earpiece, which are the two standard ways of communicating a script on TV. Soon, we started working with more than just one camera and reading longer scripts in Spanish. I also got to read a commercial script and record it in a professional studio.

The second half of the course was more about public speaking. We began reading basic scripts, and that eventually led to us presenting a speech in front of the class. We used the criticism from the professors and our fellow classmates, which eventually prepared us to do a “practice” TED talk in front of an audience of a few hundred people. I was nervous at first but knew that doing it in another language would make me feel more confident. And now, after taking part in this internship program, I am.

Lincoln Byrd is a junior at Santa Fe High School, contact him at lincbyrd@gmail.com.