By Sarah Arment, Communications Intern Summer ’19, Boston UniversityI sat down with a few of my fellow interns--Helena, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a dual degree in politics and philosophy; Gabby, a junior at Bucknell studying education; and Jane, a sophomore at Hamilton College who is undeclared, but plans to study sociology and Hispanic studies--to ask them a little bit more about how they got started interning at School the World and the impact the organization has had on them.
How did you get involved with School the World?
Helena (pictured below on April 2016 trip to Guatemala): I was a sophomore in high school and School the World came to my school to do an info session about their trips to Guatemala. In high school, I was a dancer and that was pretty much all I did, so I was really looking for something different to do. After the session, I talked to my parents about it and they were on board with me doing a trip, and so I signed up. And then a year later I did another trip because I enjoyed the first one so much!
Jane (pictured below on July 2017 trip in Guatemala) : I had a similar experience; I knew some people from my high school that had done trips, and a bunch of my friends wanted to do it, so we all decided to go on one together!
Gabby (pictured below on May '18 College Trip in Honduras - 2nd trip with STW): (laughing) Yeah, it was the same for me. People from my high school had gone on trips before and they all said how awesome it was, so I decided to go--and then I went the year after my senior year too, and then the year after that as well to Honduras on a college trip!
Wow, that’s amazing! You guys must have had great experiences if you chose to do multiple trips and then decided to intern here. But tell me a little bit more about why you chose to intern here at School the World.
Helena: There’s a lot of pressure to get an internship the summer after your sophomore year, so I was kind of frantically looking for something. I was applying to all these bigger organizations and feeling so lost because I knew they were probably getting so many applicants and I didn't think I was standing out. School the World was different because it was a lot smaller--I liked the idea of being in a smaller office because I felt like I could contribute more and learn more. And I wouldn't just be another intern lost in a sea of people, but people would know me personally and have specific things for me to do, based on my strengths and skills.
Jane: I want to go into nonprofit work in the future, and I also really like speaking Spanish and am very interested in Hispanic culture. I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m going to major in, so this internship just kind of combined everything that I really love--so it was a pretty easy fit.
Gabby: Because I liked the trips so much, I thought it would be cool to learn about how the trips happen behind the scenes. Since I had been on a trip before, I already knew a lot about School the World, but now I’m learning more than I had ever known before.
So, what’s a typical day like in the office like for you guys?
Jane: We usually get to the office at around 10:00am, and we have our people that we mainly report to. Some of us go to Ali to get tasks, and some of us go to Natalie, and sometimes we get projects from both! We just ask if they need anything or have anything for us to do.
Helena: Sometimes we’ll be working on longer projects, too. I was working on some reports on different Central American countries, which takes a while. But other times, I’ll come in and I won’t have anything to do, but I’ll get tasks from like Natalie or Ali to do for the day. So it’s a nice mix of having things that your working on long term, but there’s also an element of spontaneity.
Yeah, so everyday is different, which is super nice.
Helena: Yeah, exactly.
What would you say you have you gained from this experience, and how do you see it impacting your future plans/career?
Jane: People always say that knowing a second language is really helpful, and this internship has really proven that to me. I’ve sat in on a couple phone calls with some of the staff from Guatemala, and I’ve understood most of it. It’s cool and motivating to see how close I am to be able to use Spanish in a real business setting, which always seemed like a very abstract concept to me.
Gabby: For me, it’s been so amazing just learning about nonprofits in general. Because School the World’s U.S. office is smaller than most non-profits, I feel like I’ve learned SO much about how nonprofits operate and a lot about all the millions of details that go into running a successful service trip.
Helena: In college, there’s a lot of emphasis to take leadership positions in clubs and such--so as a leader, people are asking you questions, and you’re the one telling people what you need them to do. But being an intern you're like, at the bottom (laughs), which is good preparation for after college. We get in in the morning and Ali, Natalie or Kate give us our tasks for the day. We have to learn how to take feedback and learn from it, how to ask questions, stuff like that. I feel like I’ve become a lot better at communicating in an office setting so I can do my best work and be prepared for a job following college.
That’s a really good point: being able to work and communicate effectively in an office setting is so important. Okay so, last question: what’s the most rewarding thing about working with School the World?
Helena: Obviously, the mission of the organization is so wonderful and important. And it's really cool to see that everyone who works here knows so much about the communities that School the World partners with, and has taken the time and energy to become informed so they can do their best work. I admire that a lot.
Gabby: It’s been really cool being able to help out with out with the trips literally right before they happen. The week leading up to the July trips, we helped with all the itineraries and double checking all of the flight details and stuff like that--all the last minute details. It seems small, but it still helps a lot with getting everyone to the communities so they can have a successful trip, which of course is what matters the most!
Jane: For me just being able to see the communities that the organization helps is really rewarding. Working in the office has given me more of an understanding of what really is going on in Guatemala and Honduras, such as the extreme poverty, that results in such a high level of need for education. So just being able to understand that more makes the work we do super meaningful.
A few of our Summer Interns on their last day in the office.
Meg (bottom left), Helena (top left), Jane (top right) and Kelsey (bottom left).
Thank you for such a fabulous Summer!
Meg Gilman: Boston College (returner World Changer - high school & college, Summer 2019 chaperone!)
Gabby Walsh: Bucknell University, Needham, MA (returner World Changer - high school & college)
Jane Fanning: Hamilton College, Needham, MA (World Changer)
Helena Colbert: Pitt University, Winchester, MA (returner World Changer)
Kelsey Rondini: Needham High School '20
Emily Goldstein: Tufts University
Sarah Arment: Boston University
If you are a Boston-area college student and looking for a Fall Internship email your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: Fall Internship.
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