Click here for Lilly's full story.
Click here for Lilly's full story.
This summer I worked with an international organization called Emzingo, as a Global Impact Fellow. My team worked with an organization called Ruwasunchis (Ruwa), which is a non-profit organization formed by a multidisciplinary team of young people that that aims to improve the quality of life of the poorest communities in Peru, with an emphasis on capacity building, empowerment and entrepreneurial development in harmony with the environment. In Peru specifically, there is a much larger emphasis on cultivating relationships between partners and working within friendships to spread the word about different social justice issues. I would highly recommend Emzingo to students who want to learn about consulting for non-profits within the international sphere. I learned so much about my own work style, team dynamic, and specific cultural expectations in Peru.
I was an Economic Intern at the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam. A consulate reports to an embassy in a given country and the embassy, together with its consulates, form the U.S. mission to a given country. My overall experience with the U.S. Consulate was wonderful. My internship allowed significant interaction outside the office to gather on-the-ground economic intelligence at both the city and provincial levels. I was not treated like a lowly intern but rather as a full-time, valued employee with very substantive and sometimes outward-facing projects. I was also given creative space to find my own projects, add value where I saw it was needed, and simply interact with other sections within the consulate—both during and outside of the work day. I would advise future interns to just be flexible and open to opportunities. I accepted any opportunities offered to me.
At Archipelagos Institute for Marine Conservation, the environmental NGO I was interning at, my daily tasks included a wide variety of things. My most impactful project was researching the design of a new municipal waste system to implement on the Greek island of Samos. Samos has no recycling services and being an island all waste created is put into a landfill. The landfill on the island, however, is less than a decade from filling up, which makes a new waste management system critical. My tasks for this project included writing project proposals, researching municipal waste system case studies from similar locations, and meeting with local stakeholders. While I did not have just one rewarding moment interacting with a certain person or a certain cultural element, my whole time learning about the Greek culture was extremely rewarding.
Compared to my experience studying abroad, my work was both more intense and more rewarding. Rather than spending a few hours a day in a classroom, I fell into a rhythm of working hard for five hours a day and then spending my afternoons exploring the city and enjoying my time abroad. As a translator in the Valencia History Museum, my primary task was to translate historical texts for use on their soon-to-be-launched new website. Instead of taking away from my personal time, my time at work actually enriched my experience overall by immersing me in Spanish culture and language to the point at which I was excited -not nervous - to try and speak, act, and explore like a local as soon as I left the museum. My greatest piece of advice for another UVA student would be not to fear the unknown. My experience was invaluable and I can’t imagine a better context in which to learn.
This summer I was lucky enough to have an internship with l'Association de lutte Contre le SIDA (ALCS) in Casablanca, Morocco. L'ALCS is an NGO that works to fight HIV/aids in the Middle East and North Africa region, regarding a vast array of issues from the actual detection of the disease (dépistage) to the treatment to the intense stigmatization faced by those living with HIV.