Jessica Wojcinski

Jessica Wojcinski ’16, a music business major, interned during spring 2014 at Colegio Esclavas de Maria, a Catholic school in Valencia, Spain.

She helped the music teacher, observed classes and choir rehearsals, and performed at a charity event. She is a beginner at learning Spanish, and the students haven’t had much practice using the English they’ve studied, so communication was challenging but slowly improved. She was the only American there and the students were fascinated by American culture.

“Being in Spain and taking on this internship put me way outside my comfort zone, really forcing me to fend for myself and be independent,” Wojcinski emailed from Spain. “On the first day, I had to figure out how to navigate a foreign city by myself to get to the internship site, and I still got there early (by foot and train). I manage to communicate with teachers and faculty, for the most part, and make meaningful connections with the students through music. I stay connected to the internship faculty at Nazareth and constantly make sure I’m fulfilling the internship requirements. Without the crutch of security and familiarity that I have at Nazareth, I’ve really realized how capable I am of being successful on my own.”

One surprise gave her a new international perspective on music performance skills. When Wojcinski sang and accompanied herself on piano at the school’s fundraising event to support poor Guatemalan children, the crowd went wild. One teacher complimented her later. “He said he had never seen someone so young perform so professionally with such easy stage presence,” the sophomore said. “In the United States, if you want to ‘make it’ in the music industry, you have to be that good at a young age, or better. It was really eye-opening because at home, I’m a little fish in a big pond. In Spain, as a musician, I would be a big fish in a little pond of people who can perform really well at a young age.”

At the charity event, she was called back onstage as some of the students shyly took the microphone to thank her in English.

“Even though we couldn’t communicate very well, we communicated through music,” Wojcinski wrote on her blog. “Which sounds cheesy, but it truly made me realize how music can unite people from all different cultures, races, religions, etc. in a powerful, meaningful way.”