Christopher Bell, BA International Studies; BA Political Science; BA Spanish; minor, Anthropology ‘15
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
This summer I worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Madrid, Spain. My specific work included researching and creating reports to distribute to the other UNHCR workers. The reports focused on current events relating to refugees, immigration, or conflict situations that could pose a threat and lead to forced displacement. Every day I would read Spain’s three main newspapers, search the Internet for more information and then compile these articles into a report to distribute and file. I was there during the conflict in Syria, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the child immigration issue in the US, the conflict in Gaza, ISIS terrorizing the Middle East, and the outbreak of Ebola in Africa. Spain also experienced a surge in attempted immigrant crossings into the country’s two external autonomous cities: Ceuta and Melilla in Northern Africa. Before working at UNHCR, I didn’t know there were European-controlled cities on the African continent. The information I learned allowed me to be the most informed on current events I have been in my life and helped me give well-articulated arguments when someone wanted to ‘debate’ politics with an American perspective.
Alison Climes, BA International Studies; BA Spanish ‘15
Research titled “Global Design in Africa”
The PICS scholarship helped facilitate my trip to Ghana this summer with the International Programs in Engineering project: Design for Global Development. Along with two other students, I spent a total of eight weeks at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, as well as the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi. The first five weeks in Ghana were spent in Accra. The three of us worked with three University of Ghana biomedical engineering students to complete the preliminary steps of a senior design project. The overall goal was to immerse ourselves in the daily lives of the doctors and nurses at the hospital and do a “deep dive” with the hopes of learning more about maternal health and identifying a challenge that could be addressed with an engineering design project. Overall, my time in Ghana could be described as challenging, eye-opening, difficult, but also happy and wonderful. I believe each of us in the group learned a lot: about maternal health and engineering design, about ourselves and others, and how we can adjust to certain situations and work with others. This trip also helped to solidify my desires to continue to pursue a career in the field of health. It could not have been done without this scholarship, and for that I am very thankful.
Ashley Connelly, BA Public Policy; minor, International Studies ‘15
Un Kilo de Ayuda
During the summer, I have been living in Madrid, Spain, and interning for a Spanish NGO called Un Kilo de Ayuda. Un Kilo de Ayuda provides a variety of services to the public financed through the sale of products they produce such as water bottles with messages from underprivileged Latin American children. Specifically, I worked on their project “Yo Cocino Empleo” which literally translates to “I cook employment.” Since the Spanish economy crashed in 2008, unemployment has hovered around twenty-five percent for the nation and twenty percent for Madrid. Therefore, this project’s main goal aims to help users find jobs. The project’s scope, however, does not end there. Un Kilo de Ayuda recognizes the short-term needs of its users during the job search and also provides meals for these unemployed individuals and their families. I learned about the administration of an NGO, and I operated in a foreign country with the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world. I was also glad to be part of something that addressed the short-term needs of the unemployed while also providing more long-term solutions. It was these long-term solutions that revealed the agency of those being helped and that will help to better their situation permanently. We normally do not think of Spain as needing help, but my internship exposed me to the struggles of those who are not supposed to be struggling and what needs to be done in order to address their struggles, both right now and in the future.
Sara Engelhard, BA International Studies; BA Anthropology ‘16
Working at an international NGO for eight weeks, I couldn't help but have epiphany after epiphany about what I wanted to do with my life. I realized that I LOVED working at an NGO (especially one with so friendly an atmosphere). I had no idea how rewarding it would be to work for an organization that was dedicated to a good cause. That sounds kind of obvious, but it was really a shock just how rewarding it was. It was great to see the help we were providing in Africa, the Caribbean, and Ireland, and I loved knowing that I was making a difference--however small--in children's lives. I know now that I could definitely work for an NGO at some point in my life. As long as I believed in its cause, I would enjoy it immensely. Who knows--I might even start my own one day!
Sarah Goomar, BA International Studies; BA Political Science; minor, Gender, Race and Nation ‘14
Moulay Ismail University
This summer, I was fortunate enough to have completed an internship with Association Initiatives pour la Promotion des Droits des Femmes (IPDF Meknes) in Meknes, Morocco. IPDF Meknes is a community organization that focuses on the rights, livelihoods, and safety of women in their community. As a student majoring in political science and international studies and minoring in women’s studies, I felt excited to be working in a community organization that sought to improve the lives of women. The organization had five regular staff members and rotating interns–both Moroccan and from elsewhere.
Carolyn Lawrence, BA International Studies; BA Political Science ‘15
U.S. Department of State’s Political Office
In November 2013, I received an email that completely demolished my expectations for the following summer, and built a future even grander than expected. I was accepted as an intern for the U.S. Department of State’s Political Office in Rome, Italy. At the time, I was studying in Rome and was ecstatic at the chance to live there again. The next day after receiving my email, I took the metro to via Veneto to see where I would work for 12 weeks in summer 2014. From writing official reports to delivering diplomatic communications to getting coffee and discussing Italy’s EU Presidency, my time at the embassy was filled with learning, writing, and doing. I had the chance to go to occupied buildings and learn first-hand from refugees about their living situation in Rome, and later that week spoke with a high-level Italian official about minority migrants in Italy. My work mainly focused on the immigration crisis in Italy, but I worked outside that issue to also help with projects related to Italy’s EU Presidency, its NATO budget, and even Italy-Qatar relations. This was fascinating work, and not only did I create new professional contacts, but also made friends with my fellow interns who shared common interests.
Enxhi Merpeza, BA International Studies; BA Spanish; minor, Entrepreneurship ‘15
Ministry of Urban Planning and Tourism
As an Intern at the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism: Republic of Albania, I spent May 20th through August 20th, 2014, abroad in Tirana, Albania. I was abroad with two colleagues, with whom I had drafted and proposed the internship idea back in December 2013. We had originally planned to help the Ministry spruce up their tourism offices dispersed all over the country to better aid tourists, as well as help them fix the country’s official tourism website. Instead, we were put into meetings with a group of grad students from Harvard University right off the bat, and I attended some United Nations World Tourism Organization statistics meetings which were attended by an assortment of directors from various Albanian Ministries. I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of. I learned that I prefer more hands-on, quickly coordinated interactions, that I enjoy planning and overseeing events come to fruition, using graphic design programs and working with advertisements, and that I have improved in my Albanian language skills after having spent three months polishing my native language. It was great to understand what kind of a place Albanian REALLY is, without the bias of family members who lived through communism (though I do not dismiss the bias as unnecessary/false). It is not the country that it was 23 years ago, and being back there after 16 years also gave me a basis to see how it compares to other nations of the developing world. I cannot wait for more interns to experience the beauty that I lived through for the past three months of my life. I thank you very much for your support and scholarship; it was an opportunity of a lifetime!
Andrea Montoya, BA International Studies; BA Spanish ‘14
Buenos Aires, Argentina
For the months of May and June of 2014, I participated in the LSA International Internship Program and was placed in an organization called BA Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a marketing and merchandising assistant. BA Cup is an organization that puts together international soccer tournaments in Buenos Aires. It hosts two tournaments a year: one for youth, which is in its fifth year; and one for adults, which will be debuting in 2015. The BA Cup tournaments are more than just soccer games; they organize an entire luxury sports travel experience. Players are able to purchase packages that also include transportation, hotel stay, meals, and a number of excursions around the city. In this way, there is a lot more to advertise than the tournament in this unique travel experience, as well as a lot more logistics that the organization is in charge of putting together. In my internship, I learned a lot about the Argentine business environment, as well as how to utilize teamwork and creativity with multi-national colleagues. My coworkers came from a number of different countries across the Americas and Europe, and each had their own perspective and cultural specificities they brought with them. Working with this team helped me gain a lot of perspective in how beneficial a diverse organization can be if everyone is open-minded and accepting of one another’s differences. Also, I learned a lot about international marketing in my internship, as I had to target our product to diverse cultures. In general, this overseas experience has made me a better-rounded and culturally competent person, as well as a better job candidate with the practical work experience I gained from my internship.
Erin Ross, BA International Studies; BA German; minor, Business Administration ‘16
Over the summer, I had the wonderful experience of serving an internship in Germany. I worked with a startup company named Cloudsider, which compares different companies in different cloud categories such as cloud storage, music streaming, video on demand, and web hosting. Within these categories, the company researches different firms, and what they do well and what they do poorly, ranking them accordingly. So in the music streaming category, for example, they have tested firms such as Spotify, Napster, Deezer, and Soundcloud. Once they test these companies on various dimensions such as accessibility, music quality, customer service, etc., they write reviews of the companies. This allows visitors to the Cloudsider website to decide the best option in different aspects of the cloud. Because I had never had an internship before, I was unsure what to expect. But now I better understand not only the industry in which I was working, but also the social interactions and workplace functions. I also gained perspective on how workplaces may differ in Germany than in the US. This is a practical application that was touched upon in my International Studies classes. Another reason this internship was so valuable to me is that it really helped foster my independence and prepare me for a future outside of college. I had to find housing on my own, as well as budget for grocery shopping, travel, rent, and other expenses, which I have never really had to do before. I also had to navigate an entirely new city in my second language, and now I feel prepared for any of life’s unexpected challenges.
Michael Stinavage, BA International Studies; BA Arts and Ideas; minor, History of Art ‘16
Thanks to the support provided by two generous scholarships, including one from the Program in International and Comparative Studies, I completed an internship in Olbia-Tempio, Italy, at Buenaonda Windsurfing School. This opportunity enabled me to take an ethnographic survey of the tourism industry in Olbia-Tempio. My educational goal during this experience was to analyze how the tourism industry merges with local culture. From the numerous interviews with a migrant business owner, a Sardinian relator and a musician, and tourists, I will provide a portrait of the tourism industry from this region. All the dimensions of my life in Sardinia helped to create this portrait, while my internship position played the most crucial role.
Kledia Xhelilaj, BA International Studies; BA History ‘15
Ministry of Urban Planning and Tourism
This summer I worked as an intern at the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism in the Republic of Albania. I was a part of promotion and social media and tasked with finding recent articles about Albanian tourism from any type of media. The articles I found would be showcase on its social media sites. We also brainstormed ideas for the promotion of Albanian tourism online and compared Albania’s presence on social media to other countries in the region. Most of our time was spent doing translations. We started on small translations for its official websites. Because they really liked the translation job we did, they started giving us more translations. We translated many documents. From twelve-page articles on specific tourist sites of Albania to three-page legal documents for the Prime Minister, we translated all kinds of documents.