After a quick 4 weeks in the professional field, the Leadership & Community Engagement Institute shares stories worth reading!
Peter Kinton ’18: International Relations Major, Geology Minor
Global Playground, Cambodia
So my internship is irregular and unique for lack of better words. To put it simply, I’m basically a baby in this country. It sounds extreme, but someone told me that and it made so much sense. Every country has a certain way of doing things and since moving here for the month, I had to learn simple things all over again. I had to learn how to cook like a Cambodian, how to eat like a Cambodian, how to go to the bathroom like a Cambodian. I had to learn how to talk very, very slow too because no one would understand me if I didn’t.
Despite all of this change, my internship has been a blessing thus far. I love experiencing culture and I have soaked up so much by fully immersing in the Khmer culture. I love school and teaching the kids. It is heartwarming realizing how much they truly want to learn. That’s something I think a lot of Americans take for granted. I, by no means, am making a difference or significant change here. I think this internship has taught me how to take what I’ve learned from living in a rural, Cambodian village and take that with me to impact the rest of my life. That could mean learning to live with humility on a day to day basis or learn how to continue to stay involved with this organization so I can perhaps one day make more of an impact on this community. For now, I have learned more from them than they have from me and that is okay. I have only been here for 2 weeks, there is no way for someone to do much change in that amount of time.
Anee Nguyen ’19: English Major, History Minor
Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools, Washington DC
This summer I am interning at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools in the Public Policy and Curriculum development department, which sounds exactly as nerdy and exciting as it is. I work with running policy events that occur at the end of the school year, and now that school is out, I am working to develop curriculum for middle and high schools in the District. So far I have been to City Council, on Capitol Hill, researching about new curriculum development theories and practices, as well as learning alongside my supervisor and her colleagues. The best thing about working in a fairly young office is that a lot of what they target and work with are education issues I am interested in. I get to approach lots of hard subjects in more casual environments; I can ask almost anything I’m interested in (teacher retention rates, the firing issues, education problems, the history of the schools) to my supervisor and she is completely honest with me.
Although the going started off really rough and stressful, I have become more accustomed to my work load, the work load of my supervisor, and the familiarity I have with the office. I’m the youngest intern this office has ever had and I’m working to fill the great shoes that other W&M interns have left behind! I know that my projects will only become more and more detailed as the summer progresses, and I am hype to see what this internship has in store.
Time is really flying by this summer. It’s hard to believe I have been at my internship for over a month already. I always have new opportunities and different jobs to do in the office at SOS Children’s Villages. I am able to network with great leaders and grow accustomed to life in the professional world. SOS Children’s Villages was started in Austria and has just recently picked up media outreach in the United States. Popular in 134 different countries, SOS Children’s Villages is the largest grassroots nonprofit dedicated to it’s cause; providing homes for orphaned and abandoned children across the world. It has truly been a great experience being involved in the generosity of minor and major donors such as Angelina Jolie. Angelina has been an outspoken and loyal supporter of SOS for years now. The first week at SOS Children’s villages, I couldn’t believe the organization, whom makes an indescribable difference in the lives of thousands of children everyday, doesn’t have more recognition. However, that is the goal of each employee and I am happy to be apart of it.