Reis Becker, BA International Studies ‘19
University of Michigan Alumni Club of Toronto (UMACT)
By receiving the Longwood Fellowship this summer, I was able to pursue an incredible internship opportunity in Toronto, Canada, working for the University of Michigan Alumni Club of Toronto (UMACT). With the fellowship covering a large portion of my living costs in downtown Toronto, I was able to take full advantage of the vast cultures that make up much of downtown Toronto and the greater Toronto area. While living downtown, I worked under Alex Sirota, the director of UMACT, and the rest of the UMACT board, to help them take their organization to its maximum potential. From the middle of May until the beginning of July, I used my time with Alex to develop and publish a new website for the Alumni Club of Toronto, hold an Alumni Club sponsored student send-off event for incoming freshman at the University of Michigan from the greater Toronto area, and constructed a yearlong schedule for the Alumni Club including fundraisers and community service opportunities.
During my time spent in Toronto, I was given the opportunity to take a project like the University Of Michigan Alumni Club of Toronto and really make it one of my own, and one that I can be proud of. Along the way, I met with incredible alumni and prospective students that I built a strong bond with thanks to the pride we share for the University of Michigan. Therefore, I really want to thank William Siegel and Margaret Swaine, both of whom donated to the Longwood Fellowship, as my summer internship was truly an insightful and unforgettable experience. I plan on using the successes and the hardships of the internship as a way to further develop my career interests in International Studies, and I have no doubt in my mind that this past summer was a huge stepping stone in discovering what I want to pursue once I graduate from Michigan. Once again, thank you to Dr. Siegel, Ms. Swaine, and the rest of the PICS Summer Internship crew--you all were able to make an incredible experience, that seemed too far out of a reach, become a reality.
Se Lin Joh, BA International Studies ‘20
L’Espace Associatif Al Amal
My project in Morocco was to help an NGO called L’Espace Associatif Al Amal, which was located in a rough part of Rabat. Initially my partner and I were confused on what exactly to do. This, 3 story tall, NGO, initially funded by the king (Mohammed VI) himself, was now half empty offices, messy classrooms, and looked upon as a big dumpster to the neighbors. Additionally, although unfortunate, my partner and I were looked upon by the neighbors as the “two new foreigners trying to put this NGO back into place, just like the ones before.” We had to work harder to not only bring life and growth back to Al Amal, but also hope and joy to the surrounding community.
After reaching out to the local market, the local children, elders of the community, by the fifth week, my partner and I were teaching English to the local children, working on developing a new program, working on several grant applications, and working on cleaning up the garden that the NGO owned but was not well taken care of, with the help of the community.
In conclusion, I thank many people for allowing my thoughts to grow deeper and wider. I thank my host family and the people in Rabat for their hospitality and so much kindness. I thank my parents for allowing me to go directly abroad my first summer after my freshmen year in college. Lastly but definitely not least, I thank Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine for financially aiding me to have this amazing and profound experience.
Mayumi Kimura Meguro, BA International Studies; minor, Business Administration ‘17
Ottawa Internship Program
I was a legislative intern in the Canadian Parliament from May 8 to June 9 under Liberal Member of Parliament, Ron McKinnon. The Canadian government is very well-known and proud for handling their country’s diversity so well. The prime minister’s cabinet of ministers is one of, if not the most diverse in the world. This is something that felt like a huge breath of fresh air. I was able to see all kinds of representation everywhere I went, women and men of all races, sexual orientations, abilities, religions, classes and political affiliations were given a fair chance to speak their minds and concerns. The minister of justice for example, Jody Wilson-Raybould is a Kwakwaka’wakw indigenous Canadian and a woman and the minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development is Navdeep Bains, the son of two Sikh immigrant parents. It gives me great hope and happiness to see that diversity as Canadians say “makes us stronger” and is shown to work so well. It was amazing to see how the Canadian government officials and staff care about their citizen’s wellbeing and happiness rather than their own political and economic success.
It felt so overwhelming and unreal to be part of the private and public meetings of the Standing Committee on Human Rights as an intern because usually only higher staff get to go. I learned so much just from sitting in and listening to how they discuss and work out issues. As an intern with an educational and work background in human rights, I was tasked to write a brief on the upcoming Cannabis Legalization Act C-45 expressing my insight and recommendations on possible human rights and legal loophole concerns. I presented my brief to my Member of Parliament, Ron McKinnon. Ron McKinnon liked it so much he shared it to members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to serve of aid in future remarks and actions concerning this bill.
I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for having had this opportunity. The people in my office were so invested in my professional and personal growth. Ron (Member of Parliament) and Chris (head of staff) are incredible human beings, and I can sense that the parliament works so well because there are so many caring people like them. I recently graduated so I am hoping that I am able to find a job in something that I am passionate about and go to work every day motivated. I wish to further work on the intersectionality of social justice issues in this world, and hopefully be able to make a meaningful difference one day. This funding contributed to my experience because it made possible for me to be able to afford and take part in this incredible opportunity. I was able to gain some of the most life-changing lessons and philosophies I have now because of this internship. Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me fund this incredible and life-changing opportunity.
Trevor Krayer, BA International Studies; BA Romance Languages & Literatures; minor, Business Administration ‘18
Ottawa Internship Program
Thanks to the generosity of both William Siegel and Margaret Swaine, I had the opportunity to participate in the Ottawa Internship Program at the University of Michigan, and I spent five weeks in Ottawa working in an administrative position under two Senators in the Canadian Parliament. The internship was incredibly enlightening and the work I did was invaluable in both my French and International Studies education at the University of Michigan. Instead of working under one Parliamentarian, as is standard in the program, I was able to work in two offices, one primarily Francophone, and the other primarily Anglophone in order to obtain the true, Canadian bilingual experience. In the office of the Anglophone Senator, Joan Fraser, I did administrative work like answering the phone, printing and preparing documents, and organizing emails and invitations. In the Francophone office with Senator Paul Jean Massicotte, I was a research assistant and gathered information about new bills that were presented in the Senate, and answering questions the Senator had about the information.
I learned about a different political system as well; although the Canadian government appears similar to the American one, there are some key differences. The one I found the most interesting is the fact that Senators are appointed by the Prime Minister, and not elected. The Senate is considered the chamber of “sober second thought” and is supposed to look at issues in a logical and ethical way to benefit every Canadian, not just those in their constituency. One of my favorite memories of the internship is the weekend trip our program took to Montreal. We were able to go sightseeing and explore one of the most well-known cities in Canada that also allowed me to use French to a greater extent than in Ottawa. I particularly like the Biodome that was a type of zoo specifically tailored to different climates and habitats, and the different types of cuisine in the big city; we went to Chinatown and ate dim sum, and also tried out a ramen place.
The fellowship allowed me to fully experience and explore not just Ottawa, but Montreal as well in an interprovincial trip. I would like to thank William Siegel and Margaret Swaine once more for the fellowship that allowed me to have such an inspiring internship this summer and to pursue my career interests.
Clara Li, BA Public Policy; minor, International Studies ‘18
Top Israel Interns Program
I was one of the few students in the Top Israel Interns Program that was not Jewish and that had not visited Israel before. Though their guidance was helpful, I faced a larger adjustment than I had anticipated. The first step for me was learning about the livelihood of the people and the cultural norms. It was a rewarding experience to be able to talk to locals and my co-workers to learn, for example, about the mandatory service requirements of all citizens and how that shapes the mindset of the population and country. It was also interesting to learn about the role of religion in politics and how that varies from most of the practices of the people.
Overall, my largest takeaway from this summer is that one must keep in mind that there is a distinction between what is shown on media and the news and what the people of that country are like. Politics are politics and they should not be used as a lens to view an entire population. Thus, I would recommend to anyone travelling to any region of the world to first be introspective and recognize what predetermined notions they have about the country and to put that aside and be fully open when they experience that new place.
I would like to thank both Dr. William Siegel and Ms. Margaret Swaine for being donors of the Longwood fellowship. Without their support, I would not have been able to travel around Israel and to have immersive cultural experiences. I learned about the ancient history of the country and it was eye-opening to see this history in real life as I visited Caesarea, Akko, and hiked Masada. These areas were ruin sites from the Roman Empire and it was interesting to contrast these visits with that of the Yad Vashem (Holocaust) Museum.
Emily Martin, BA International Studies; BA Screen Arts and Cultures; minor, French & Francophone Studies ‘18
75th Cannes Film Festival
By receiving this fellowship, I had the opportunity to not only attend the 75th Cannes Film Festival, but I also had an internship with a distribution company throughout the entire two weeks of the festival. This opportunity was monumental for me because this specific experience encompassed every discipline I’m currently studying/pursing, those being: International Studies, Screen Arts, and French. While in Cannes, I learned more of the business side of the film industry through my internship with the distribution and sales team at the production company, XYZ Films. Outside of my internship, I was able to attend presentations, screenings, premieres, and lectures on all film topics. This aspect of the experience exposed me to new international and independent content I might have never gotten to see. Perhaps my favorite and most enriching moment was when I attended a small talk that featured both one of my favorite directors and my favorite cinematographer, who was very eccentric in person.
I suppose the takeaway from my internship is the understanding that there are many different levels to the industry that may not directly involve my work, but they affect the entire process and industry of film distribution, circulation, and even content. I honestly can’t believe I was able to have this opportunity and experience an amazing two weeks I will never forget. Genuinely the only thing that ultimately made this experience possible was being awarded the Longwoods Fellowship, which I am very grateful for. Thank you to the PICS department and I would specifically like to thank both William Siegel and Margaret Swaine for their contributions that have allowed me this experience. I will be forever grateful for your kindness.
Niharika Tiwari, BS International Studies; minor, Biochemistry ‘18
Through my internship with Sangath, I explored how effective the integration of community-based lay counseling is in a traditional mental health treatment program. Sangath is an NGO based in Goa that has implemented an innovative program that combines traditional biomedical treatments with multi-disciplinary community-based interventions to provide better access to mental health care. My research examined the role of lay counselors and their impact on the community as well as examined how this particular method will affect the overall goal of creating awareness against mental health stigma and building a community wide support system that allows for greater access to care.
While at Sangath I learned not only about global mental health, but a lot about myself and where I can fit into the future solution for bridging the treatment gap. In the future, I plan to pursue a career in global public health and medicine with a focus on health equity and community based interventions. I’m majoring in International Studies with a focus in Global and Environmental Health and I am pursuing a minor in Biochemistry at the University of Michigan. The holistic approach that also incorporates multi-disciplinary interventions and community empowerment to treat patients that Sangath employs is a novel idea and one that drove me to apply for this internship in the first place.
This internship not only opened my eyes to the gaps and ignorance of my own knowledge about mental health care in low and middle income countries, but it also allowed me to see how innovation plays into solving problems in countries that may not have the necessary funds or resources to care for their population. I was fortunate to be able to come to Goa this summer and study such a method in the task-shifting model applied by the lay health workers. I am so incredibly grateful to both William Siegel and Margaret Swaine for their donation so that I could complete this incredible journey that will impact my academic, professional, and personal endeavors for the rest of my life.