Intercultural and International Communication | SIS
IC Summer Internship Spotlight
Current IC students tell us all about the exciting internship opportunities they pursued over the summer.
Andrea interned at a startup in Quito, Ecuador this summer. She worked with a partner to build an NGO that uses communication for social and economic development, with the goal of using existing resources to support local development institutions in Quito. This organization is the first of its kind in Quito, being specifically created to reach out to other companies and local Quito NGOs in an effort to enhance their social impact and evaluate it for effectiveness. Andrea was responsible for communicating with other organizations, and bridging the gap between the startup and other organizations.
Andrea's crafted a self-design concentration titled "Culture, Peace, and Human Development." According to Andrea, human development and peace go hand-in-hand: you must understand the human component of both of them. By putting a face to poverty, you understand that the process for peace building and a more just society increases dramatically because you are solving the root of so many problems. She is studying how to utilize the interactions between people to give them more tools to empower themselves and development themselves within the community.
Landing the internship involved a lot of talking and informal conversation with friends and partners back home in Ecuador. The most exciting thing about working for a startup, according to Andrea, is that "you can do anything. You learn from trial and error. The end result might not be what you were expecting but you have the opportunity to really learn something."
Cathryn, who has designed her own concentration - communication for development –with a bit of a Southeast Asia twist to it, interned in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this summer. Her internship was at All Women's Action Society (AWAS), an advocacy empowerment group for women with more than 25 years of service. Her primary responsibilities were developing the NGO's information communications outreach strategy and community outreach.
AWAS has many initiatives, including gender sensitivity training for clients that include: the government, businesses , private corporations, and even the police force. Cathryn worked on a newer initiative regarding interfaith dialogue between Muslim and non-Muslim women to create dialogue groups that tackle topics in gender and faith.
Cathryn views her international internship as a good challenge and an opportunity to learn, as it put her outside of her comfort zone. She gained a better perspective of the economic, political, and social changes in Southeast Asia. Her goal was to discover what it's like to be in the field and working with the community directly on development issues.
Prior to the start of her internship, Cathryn participated in a 3-week summer course in ASEAN studies based in Malaysia and Indonesia, which was led by SIS Professor Pek Koon Heng-Blackburn.
Second-year student Stacey Massuda spent the summer of 2014 utilizing her International Communication skills in China as an SIS practicum consultant to Teach for China, an affiliate of the growing Teach for All network dedicated to reducing the global education gap. Participated in the "Assessing Intercultural Competence in International Education" practicum team, Stacey and her colleagues focused on developing an Intercultural Training Course and support interculturally-competent teaching fellows for work in rural Chinese schools. Their team implemented two courses for 50 Teach for China fellows and staff. In their final report, they created a study guide for teaching fellows to refer to and recommendations for Teach for China to use to improve Teach for China fellow training in the summer.
Her key takeaway was this: despite personal concerns, taking the risk is valuable. She believes that the experience as a consultant in China helped her grow both personally and professionally. The practicum challenged her to step outside of her comfort zone and become comfortable with being uncomfortable. "I enjoyed the challenged and I got an experience that I would not have otherwise had."
Second-year student Taylor Campbell spent summer 2014 interning at Techo, a multinational antipoverty nonprofit headquartered in Santiago, Chile that provides emergency housing in slums, and strives for community development, as well as bringing poverty in Brazil into public awareness in conjunction with the World Cup. Taylor worked on website and social media strategy, translation work from Spanish to English, and crafting press releases.
The main challenge Taylor faced was culture shock. The Chilean culture is much more about community than the American culture and "at first it was a challenge, but then it made sense." It was key to find a balance between work life and social life. Facing this challenge led to some important takeaways for Taylor. The experience helped in her professional adaptability and she has become more comfortable with being flexible in a different cultural context. Her Spanish language skills were improved, which was something she was hoping would occur. "There's so much to learn from people everywhere" and she learned a lot from the people of Chile.