Luke Bunch has discovered the value of learning a new language.
Originally from Chanute, Kan., Bunch came to Pittsburg State University to earn a double-degree in international business and management with a minor in psychology. In addition to his interest in business and psychology, Bunch also had a strong desire to learn another language, which he did at PSU.
“I had always wanted to learn another language and I chose French,” Bunch said. “I took French for three semesters.”
One day, his hard work learning French and his business degree all came together.
“I got an e-mail from Madame Krepps (associate professor Myriam Krepps),” Bunch said. “She had gotten an e-mail from Atout France (the Agency for the Development of Tourism in France). They were looking for an intern.”
Although he didn’t believe there was much of a chance he would be considered, Bunch applied. That led to a phone interview.
“They called me and we did a 40-minute interview, all in French,” Bunch said.
Bunch was offered the job, but he had a problem. He had finished his undergraduate degree and was just beginning his master’s program in international business and he wasn’t sure he would be allowed to take the internship.
“They normally don’t let you do internships at the start of a master’s program,” Bunch said.
But the faculty in the Kelce College of Business were very supportive.
“I can’t say enough about how supportive everyone was,” Bunch said.
Bunch took the internship and worked in the Service Editorial Web & E-Marketing Department at Atout France’s Paris office from January through the end of July 2012. At the company, he did a variety of jobs with increasing responsibility.
“Our job was to make high quality, comprehensive, and interactive websites that show off the enticement that France has to offer, as well as make it simple to plan trips in order to visit,” Bunch said.
Bunch was the first intern the company had ever hired from an English-speaking country and he was the only one in the office who spoke English. Initially, he said, his job was to simply to review and correct grammar in website articles written in English, but soon the company came to rely on him for his knowledge of English speaking cultures and markets. He modified web content to more target American, UK, and other international markets and even learned to resolve formatting and linking issues with the company websites.
Now back at PSU, Bunch anticipates graduating with his master’s degree in international business in December 2013.
"Taking the initiative to undergo the extreme challenge of learning a new language and culture has opened doors to new opportunities that never would have been possible for me otherwise,” Bunch said. “It has also proven to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
One of those rewarding experiences was meeting Sophie, a young French woman who was also working at Atout France and to whom Bunch is now engaged.
Bunch said the future for the couple is not certain. It could mean living and working in the U.S., in France or some other country in Europe. Whatever opportunity they pursue, Bunch said, that road began at PSU.