A semester with CGS

As I finish my last few days of spring semester, I have had time to reflect on the wonderful experience I have had interning at the Center for Global Studies. Before this internship, I had never had actual experience outside of the classroom working at a job relevant to my major. The Center for Global Studies gave me the opportunity to use my love for the study of international relations in multiple ways. Starting some of my Saturdays with World Stories Alive was such a joy. Seeing the children enthusiastic about learning new languages made me so happy and gave me confidence in the next generation and their ability to make positive changes in the world. I also loved the opportunity to interview Dr. Ilieva and help coordinate her visit to campus. Seeing all of that hard work culminate into a successful event was very special.

I would like to say thank you to Sarah, Mary and Emily for creating such a warm work environment. Thank you for challenging me as an intern but also for understanding the demands of being a student and all that comes with that role.  Thank you also to Rana and Tolu, It was a pleasure collaborating with you. Good luck to all the CGS Staff in whatever the future brings to them!

As I look ahead to my future, I see how the skills I acquired as an intern will help me in many ways. Fall semester I am studying abroad in Paris and London and am going to have another part-time internship while I am studying. Working for CGS has improved my time management skills and taught me how to better balance work, school and my social life. This internship has also improved my writing skills and taught me how to write in new forms, like press releases.

 

Thank you again to the Center for Global Studies and I will miss you all!

A Great Experience

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have interned at the Center for Global Studies. I am especially happy for the chance to have taught some High School kids at Bellefonte. Their obvious ease with grappling with foreign material and the warmth they showed pleasantly surprised me. World Stories Alive was another great experience. The innocent energy that little children have can be very therapeutic (in small doses). Exposing them early on to other cultures is the right step in promoting a more tolerant global village, and I am very happy to have been a part of that.

The approachability of Emily, Mary and Sarah did wonders for my sense of ease while working. The office was always serene and the attitude positive. I can only hope to find a ‘real’ job with such an atmosphere. My fellow interns Rana and Renee were also a joy to work with, and I wish both success in their future ventures.

For my personal growth, I think working at CGS has been very beneficial. It has let me know that with a bit of effort, one can step out of one’s comfort zone in terms of work load, types of activities one undertakes and people one has to interact with. I can not say that I am worse off in any way by having worked here, and I look forward to any other interactions I have with all I have met at CGS in the future.

A Final Goodbye

The year I spent at the Center for Global Studies gave me confidence in my future career plans.  Prior to this internship, I could not pinpoint a solid career path based on my dual majors of Global and International Studies (GLIS) and International Politics.  These majors are broad and could result in a career in the government, a non-government organization or lead to graduate school, law school and who knows what else.  I was in a discouraging fog because I did not know how to turn my studies into a practical career.  However, after a year of working at the Center for Global Studies I view my majors in a new light because of the inspiring people I had the honor of working with and meeting.  

Two of the most inspiring people that I had the opportunity to learn from and work with were Sarah and Mary.  Every step of the way they were there to challenge me and support me as I stepped out of my comfort zone. 

A few things that I learned was how to be open to critique, how to interview high profile professionals, how to write press releases, design posters and write articles for a newsletter.

What started out as a simple desire to acquire an internship turned into an experience of a lifetime filled with lessons on patience, teamwork, interviewing, photography, design, writing and computer skills.  These new skills will allow me to present a new level of expertise in future internships and careers.  Another added bonus to this internship was the World Stories Alive series were I had the opportunity to work with children and explore new languages and cultures.  This will be extremely useful as I study abroad this summer in Amman, Jordan.  

Interning at the Center for Global Studies has expanded my global knowledge and awareness through first hand experience in a professional setting.  

I wish you all the best and I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing things that the CGS puts one.

Rana Mohamed

A second opportunity

Hello all,

I am more than excited to be back and working as an intern for the Center of Global Studies.  Last semester was truly eye opening for me as I learned more about the field of global studies from professionals in different disciplines such as journalism, history and political science.  Also, I had the opportunity to attend events that I would never have heard of and listen to interesting lectures.  Word of advice: read promotional emails from Penn State and its many departments, you can truly miss a lot if you don’t.  Throughout the previous semester, I was able to strengthen my time management skills, learn and improve my writing in press releases, articles and sending professional emails, team building skills and even my photography skills, which I thought were virtually non-existent.

This semester, I am hoping to further develop my professional skills and gain some new skills while learning about various cultures through World Stories Alive and the world around me from lectures and other events.  I could already say that I am off to a great start, even though it has only been four weeks.  Up till today, I have been able to attend the Korean World Story event in Schlow Library and learn about the cultural significance of the Lotus flower, work with the Farsi and the Arabic presenter for World Stories Alive to create the handouts, put together the first 2017 newsletter which really teaches you patience, and attend the Comparative Literature Luncheon titled “Visionaries: Second Sight and Social Change in Islamic West Africa since 1400” by Dr. Ware.

The most beneficial part of this internship is having the privilege of learning about my Global Studies and International Politics double major through first-hand experiences.

As I begin my work this semester with The Center for Global Studies, I am very excited about all the opportunities this internship has for me. As an International Politics major, I love engaging in discussions about global issues and learning more about other cultures and governments. For me, this internship is the first chance I’ve had so far during my college career to apply what I’ve learned in an academic setting that isn’t a classroom. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with other people who share my interests and love for global studies. I hope that through the World Stories Alive program, I will learn more about foreign languages alongside the children for whom the program is for. Even as a student who is over ten years older than the children in attendance, there is so much to be taken from the stories and the languages. I hope to be in a career someday where I can meet and interact with people from all around the world so even minimal exposure to other languages and cultures now is so valuable. I am also looking forward to the multiple lecture series and the great speakers who are coming to Penn State this spring. Being able to learn about important global issues that concern health, politics, education and many other things from scholars who have studied the topics extensively is such a rare and special opportunity that I am fortunate to have.  By writing about these lectures and doing further research about these issues I can gain deeper knowledge while improving my writing skills. I am grateful for the Center for Global Studies and am looking forward to all the experiences I will gain from my time as an intern there this semester.

Renee Arnold

 

     

Baby Steps

‘I’ve never been this busy before’. It’s a thought that has occurred to me occasionally since this semester has begun. Each time it comes to me, I take a moment to savor the feeling, to let it marinate. It feels…different. I have an honors thesis (not to mention related requirements) to grapple with, a number of high level classes to take, and now an excellent internship opportunity. As with any change in life, there is a giddying amount of uncertainty involved- will I be able to handle everything adequately?

When I applied to the CGS I had a very specific mental image of what I would be doing. I envisioned a role not unlike a research assistantship position, where most of my engagements would involve technical-level writing around some of the center’s thematic focuses. It was clarified during the job interview that I would not be doing much of that-my first two activities have been hanging up posters around town, and cutting beaks for a children’s arts and crafts project.

I wouldn’t have it any other way, really. The internship represents an opportunity to find out more about myself. I have thrived in the African (Nigerian) workplace; at my previous internship (where I worked for 2 consecutive summers and a gap year) it was not unusual for me to represent the organization at local and international conferences. Working with CGS is a considerable step outside of my comfort zone, and conventional wisdom indicates that such places are where the magic happens in life.

At this point, a bit of context to make the moment more magical is in order. Time and time again while working and at school, I have been struck by the fact that African human capital has not received nearly enough of the investment it needs to create a lasting, positive change. I had mulled this thought over and over; eventually the notion of giving up the career I thought I wanted (the ‘safe’ one) for one focused on equipping future generations became less a hope and more a highlight in my life plan. In the same breath, a fortuitous string of events created an obligation for me to fill in a spot at my church’s Sunday school (let’s just say not many young adults do that). Fast forward to me cutting out paper beaks at a place where I thought I’d be looking up academic journals, and it begins to look like my plans are being validated somehow.

So when thoughts about being busy come, I know they are thoughts of amazement rather than complaint. These might well be the baby steps (forgive the pun) to a legacy that I can be proud of.

Are you a Global Citizen?

“A global dimension has been added to the lives of most people on the planet… There are benefits and difficulties associated with the ways in which life is becoming globalized.  However, like it or not, this new global dimension in our lives is here to stay, and quite likely will grow larger,” by Ron Israel.  Are you a global citizen, do you understand what that term means?  The book Global Citizenship: A Path to Building Identity and Community in a Globalized World by Ron Israel attempts to help readers understand what being a global citizen is and how the world is already globalized.

This book is split into 4 sections to help readers break down the message that Ron Israel is attempting to send. Here are the lessons I learned from each section:

Part 1: The Emerging Global Citizen

“A global citizen is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community, and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.”

The world is becoming more and more interconnected and transparent and we no longer need to to wait days or even weeks to learn about an event in Australia or to hear from our brother in England.  The world is connected by the clothes we wear on our backs and the internet that we use daily.  In todays world advertisers, farmers, sports teams, drug dealers, and even students take advantage of globalization.  The globalized world requires us to take up 11 core values including gender inequality, humanitarian assistance and preservation of cultural diversity.  However, we must also remove myths including “You can’t be a citizen of your country and still be a global citizen” from our brains.

Part 2: Global Perspectives

A major driving movement towards global citizenship is “the urgent decision-making regarding political, social and economic issues that effect us all”, including nuclear weapons and climate change.  However, individuals like you and I can take action by becoming global social entrepreneurs and working to make a positive change in our state and our nation. 

Part 3: Global Governance

Institutions including the United Nations, international courts and global economic management institutions make the rules and regulations that govern the world.  However, as times change their influence is not as effective as they used to be.  But there are ways you can make an impact within these organizations and if you want to learn more check out pages 72-97. Additionally, history teach us lessons ranging from the Macedonian Empire (800BCE-168 BCE) till the age of the United Nations (1945-present).  History also reinvents itself as seen from market freedom and social responsibility.

Part 4: Moving Forward

Many of us have started on our road towards becoming global citizens and as any road, this one has roadsigns some positives including the internet and education, and some negatives including terrorists and anti-immigration. While there is no plan for how to become a global citizen, there is big picture strategies including nurturing global leaders and personal strategies like protecting human rights. The key to success is to become educated and learn from different disciplines and from the emerging world. 

This book ends with a Call to Action called the The Global Citizens’ Initiative. The three parts of this initiative are:

  • Advocacy
  • Citizen Engagement
  • Education

If you are inspired from this book or interested in making a greater impact as a global citizen then check out http://www.theglobalcitizensinitiative.org/ or contact Ron Israel at ronclsrael@yahoo.com.

Go Global

Stacie Berdan, author of GoGlobal said, “The global marketplace is huge, Dynamic. And yes, it can be a bit scary. You deal with different cultures, currencies, languages, history, politics, religions. Global workers must cope with all these and more as they both search for jobs and then work across borders either virtually or physically.”  Have you ever considered Going Global whether to study abroad or work?  I have highly considered both and after reading this book, I gained a bit more knowledge in how to succeed abroad and how to even get abroad.  Many of us want to travel, but also many of us are drowning in student debt and cannot afford it; gaining an international career may be the answer to our problem.   

This book starts out with an introduction of the author and 7 pages of contributors.  This definitely made the book more credible and interesting because it represented perspectives from various stages of life.  This also makes the book easier to read because it is broken up by questions and sections so you can skip around depending on where you are in your academic career or real-life career. 

Here are a few takeaways I gained from each chapter:

Chapter 1: Recognizing that Global is Everywhere

I am in this internal debate between desperately wanting to go abroad post-graduation and not wanting to leave my family, friends and life that I built here.  There are globally-set careers right here in the U.S. A globally-set job means that you will be interacting with a foreign market or group through the use of technology. Additionally, it is crucial that you take advantage of every opportunity you have whether that a global internship, a study abroad, or even joining an international club at your university because they will help boost your resume and experience with the international community. 

Chapter 2: Appreciating the Importance of a Global Mindset

This is not something you are born with, a global mindset comes with experience and curiosity.  Even if you choose to work in your home country, you still need a global mindset to stick out to employers.  Whether you are hoping to acquire a position in a business or a hospital the world is extremely interconnected and will require you to learn from foreigners and adapt to culturally diverse clients or patients. 

Chapter 3: Building your International Qualifications

College is a time to step outside of the classroom and take in every opportunity available to you; study abroad, take a few language courses and find out what other resources your college has available to you.  A previous professor once told me that I will never have the opportunity to travel to another nation for so little again.  He was referring to the various scholarships and enrichment funding colleges offer for students to study abroad.  I plan on taking advantage of those financial resources!

Chapter 4: Developing a Winning Global Job-Search Toolkit: Resumes, Cover Letter and Elevator Pitches

No matter what field you plan on going into you will need all three of these to succeed.  The best way to stand out is by having those global experiences that you can show-off in your resume and cover letter.  I highly suggest getting a mentor because they work wonders on advising students on how to tailor their resumes and cover letters.

Chapter 5: Pulling It All Together Ready, Set…Go Global!

Do your RESEARCH! This should be a life lesson, you never want to jump into anything without having at least a fundamental knowledge on what it is.  Also, it is important to seek help from those who have been in your shoes before.  You can learn valuable lessons from others who previously studied abroad or work in the field you hope to join!

Chapter 6: Launching an International Career

Do whatever it takes to reach your goal of going global, that means putting in the extra effort and showing your value.  At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you enjoy the journey; it won’t all be easy or fun, but if your truly passionate you will persevere.

This book gives you countless other tools and tips that can help you stand out and gain a global career.  I highly recommend Go Global by Stacie Berdan if you have any interest going abroad. 

This is not the end…

While there is so many words I want to say about this incredible journey, I am currently speechless.  From meeting renowned professionals, including Vijay Prashad and Kim Barker, to working with the two of the strongest and kindest women, Sarah and Mary, this internship was more than I ever expected.  However, the best part is knowing that it is not over yet because I will be back next semester. 

I started this internship assuming that I would be filing or inputting data, basically minimalistic work that would not make any significant impact.  However, I have never been more wrong in my life.  Throughout this semester, I had the opportunity to photograph Brown Bag lectures, Vijay Prashad and Ian Johnstone’s lectures.  Who would have thought that I could actually be good at using a professional camera?  Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet the man behind the words of The Darker Nations, a book I read in my globalization class.  I never thought that I would have the opportunity to meet one of the authors of a book I had to read in class, it made the assignment more personal.  Instead of completing the assignment and moving on, I am able to constantly think about it and remember the conversation I had with Prashad.  His work on western interventions in eastern societies has prompted me to focus my two research assignments this semester on further understanding the interventions. 

Additionally, I had the opportunity to interview Kim Barker.  I never would have imagined interviewing a person who interviewed political figures including Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in a war zone.  As my earlier posts mention, this was truly one of the most incredible and unimaginable experiences of my life. 

While having all these memorable and educational experiences, the greatest part of this internship is Sarah Lyall-Combs and Mary Price.  They have inspired me to see the unimaginable, motivated me to reach beyond my perceived limits, and supported my internship and academic journeys every step of the way and I could never thank them enough.  I am privileged to know them and grateful for the opportunity to spend another semester learning from them. 

While this is the end of the semester, you will be hearing from me soon about Going Global!

~Rana

P.S. I cannot wait to see all the incredible experiences I will have in the spring semester!

Thankful

This semester has consumed my life and pushed me to constantly be moving. Each second I stop and reflect, I realize how many amazing opportunities I have been afforded and I can only hope the rest of my life will contain just as much chaos. I got to interview Vijay Prashad after reading his book The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. I had the chance to be standing right next to Kim Barker whose work as a journalist was made into the novel, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and then turned into the major motion picture, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”. Lastly, I was inspired by Grant Berry who is a Ph.D. candidate in Spanish and Language Science in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. His CGS Brown Bag on linguistics pushed me to start my own research. 

This semester has shown me what is possible for one person to accomplish. I can’t imagine having spent my time this fall doing anything else. I feel truly encouraged and exhilarated by all I have experienced. It has been a pleasure to get to know amazing people such as Sarah, Mary, Emily H., Parker, and Rana throughout my journey. Each one of them has encouraged and motivated me to be a better writer, interviewer, global citizen, friend, and person. They have contributed to my successes along this journey. It has been quite the adventure this past semester and I know this experience will only encourage me to dive into new challenges as my life progresses.

I know from here, I will take this experience with me as I travel to France next semester. I will know how to be calm in stressful situations. I will know how to engage with others around me academically and socially as I make new friends. Lastly, I will know how to be confident and put myself into unknown situations. As I continue to grow and eventually graduate, I am grateful to have had this internship to help me understand myself and my determination to make a difference in our world. I want to fight for what I believe in. Now more than ever seems like the perfect time to start. 

Thanksgiving is next week and I want to end by saying simply how thankful I am to have had this opportunity. This is not goodbye but a see you soon.

Emily