Successful interns share their experiences on work abroad, in Washington, DC, and in Los Angeles settings.
The UCLA International Institute's Office of Academic Advising for undergraduate Interdepartmental Degree Programs (IDPs) hosted an Internship Fair for International Development Studies majors on Thursday, April 3, from 3-5 pm in Bunche 10383. The fair featured two student panels, and representatives from the Education Abroad and the UCLA Internship and Study Abroad Services from the UCLA Career Center. A resource list of internship and volunteer opportunities was distributed to all attendees and may also be viewed at http://www.international.ucla.edu/ids/resources/jobs/jobs.asp?resources\jobs\otherResources.
The highlight of the event was the featured student panelists, who were asked to give advice to their peers based on their personal experiences as interns abroad and at home. These five impressive women talked about how they found their internships, their responsibilities, the skills they acquired or needed to perform their jobs successfully, and of the valuable networks and contacts they made through their work experiences. There was also a frank discussion of the challenges and costs of living abroad, and of working in an intense and demanding environment, but all the panelists expressed great pride and satisfaction with the professional and personal growth they achieved through their internships.
The first panel featured Angelica Arreola, Stacey Lydon, and Jannie Kwok.
Angelica interned at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C. She worked on Macedonian identity and migration as well as political decentralization in Central and Eastern Europe; and interned with the Department of State, Embassy Bratislava, Slovakia, where she met with local NGOS regarding human rights and refugees. Although Angelica had a wonderful experience in her internships and indulged in the many perks associated with her job, she gave a realistic account of the challenges of working and living abroad, and advice about how to handle these pressures.
Stacey Lydon worked as a researcher for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She explained how she applied directly to the center on the advice of a professor, and was able to choose an internship with a Harvard fellow conducting research on international law, civil conflict in Africa, and comparative education. She developed valuable research skills and became efficient at using the Center's library and the Library of Congress, and established contacts that will help her throughout her career. Stacey got excellent letters of recommendation for graduate school because of the people she met through this internship.
Jannie Kwok interned with the Department of State, Washington D.C., Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. She found out about her internship through the EXPO center and learned how to write briefing memos, multi-task in a fast-paced and demanding office, wrote constituent letters and learned how human rights dialogues with other countries work. As a result of her internship, she was able to secure a position with the State Department in Los Angeles, working for the Office of Foreign Missions. Jannie said that her internship helped her realize that she'd like to pursue a career in international law.
The second panel featured local opportunities in related subfields of International Development Studies, such as economic development/trade and public health and education.
Anne Pao worked for Honda's Export Sales Division, which focuses on Latin American market research. Through this internship, Anne has been exposed to the global business practices involved with export sales. One of Anne's duties was to compile country profiles for the Caribbean and Latin American markets, and she has been able to hone her language, Power Point, Internet and Excel skills as well. She advised students to develop some practical and marketable computer skills for the job market, and talked of the premium placed on bilingual or multilingual students, especially those who can speak Spanish or Chinese.
Gayle Gienger is working with Planned Parenthood, Los Angeles, on sex education and sexual health in middle schools all over Los Angeles, but primarily in schools that are in low socio-economic areas. She pursued this internship because of her interest in education, and expressed the need for recruiting more male, minority, and Spanish-speaking interns. She talked of how it is possible to get credit for such work, and how it helped crystallize her interest in pursuing a career in public health and education.
Over 35 students attended the fair, and the event gave IDS majors an opportunity to get to know each other, exchange e-mails, and get a head start on looking for summer or academic year internship experiences. The event was organized in response to student demand for workshops on career development for IDS majors. Future events on graduate school options and careers for IDS majors and other International Institute interdepartmental degree program students are currently being developed.
Published: Tuesday, April 08, 2003
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