Supply chain man­age­ment, dull? Not for North­eastern Uni­ver­sity sopho­more Rebecca Huot, who hitched her buttoned-​​down con­cen­tra­tion to exciting co-​​op oppor­tu­ni­ties in Paris, working on the air­freight team at Charles de Gaulle Air­port, and later, for trans­porta­tion logis­tics provider Kuehne+Nagel.

Before my co-​​op jobs, I’d always dreamed of coming to Paris,” she says. “I’d imagine run­ning along the Avenue des Champs-​​Élysées with a baguette in my hands.”

Instead of that baguette, Huot could most often be found with her hands full of the details involved with get­ting freight from point A to B via air, ocean, truck or other trans­port method.

Working for the air­port, she han­dled air­plane parts, ensuring engines and wing parts made it to their des­ti­na­tions. “One parcel had to be deliv­ered by hand to New York City, so we got on a plane, flew to New York, deliv­ered the parcel, and then flew back,” she says.

After a three-​​month stint at the air­port in fall 2008, Huot worked a six-​​month co-​​op, ending in July, for Kuehne+Nagel.

The move­ment of any product between coun­tries requires adher­ence to strict reg­u­la­tions, so Huot worked on doc­u­men­ta­tion ensuring that ware­houses in China, for example, were com­pliant with ship­ment rules.

The com­pany offers a wide range of trans­porta­tion ser­vices, including refrig­er­a­tion and spe­cial han­dling for light-​​sensitive mate­rials, adding to the com­plexity of Huot’s job.

But moving her­self to Paris was an oppor­tu­nity for Huot to step out of her shel­tered life on campus, and into “undis­cov­ered territory.”

There were times when nav­i­gating the French lan­guage was as dif­fi­cult as moving a con­tainer of 500 pairs of sneakers to its des­ti­na­tion, she jokes.

Adapting to the French cul­ture was def­i­nitely a chal­lenge. The first week and a half was like a hon­ey­moon, but the next couple of weeks were pretty chal­lenging at times,” she says. “I moved in with a French-​​speaking host family, and by the second week I was con­vinced I couldn’t remember my verbs!”

A few embar­rassing mis­pro­nun­ci­a­tions later, Huot says she learned to laugh at her­self, relax, and take from Paris all that it had to offer. “My mother encour­aged me from the begin­ning to travel while I’m young, and she was so right.”

Orig­i­nally a mar­keting major, Huot quickly switched to supply chain man­age­ment, a field that drew her to “all the oppor­tu­ni­ties in transportation.”

One day, she hopes to carve out a niche in one small part of that world: She wants to apply her tech­nology skills to tag­ging and tracking goods. “I just love the problem solving and logis­tics involved in get­ting goods from point to point,” she says. “Fig­uring out what boat, or what con­tainer, to make some­thing a go, and make the cus­tomer happy, is very appealing to me.”