My time as an intern at the Center for Global Studies provided me with a better look into the “real world” in comparison to any experience I have had in a more formal academic setting. The real world application of what I have learned in the classroom will allow me to become more marketable as I enter the job force and I hope this experience will impress future employers. The skills I learned are transferable not only in the immediate future, but also as I progress throughout my chosen career. Over the past few months I learned that taking risks and stepping outside my comfort zone leads to other opportunities. I demonstrated initiative to my supervisor and was rewarded by being offered the head internship position next semester. Since this experience has been successful thus far, I am interested and excited to see how I handle my responsibilities in the spring.
I learned the importance of taking initiative and the payoff taking risks can have in a work environment. One task that I was in charge of throughout the semester was organizing a screening of Girl Rising, a film whose goal is to raise awareness about the importance of education for young females around the globe. When I first saw the email I thought it would be great if the Center for Global Studies sponsored a screening at Penn State. At first I wasn’t sure if I should forward it to my supervisor, Sarah, because I had only just started as an intern. After a little bit of thought, I decided to do so because the worst that could happen was that Sarah said no. Fortunately, however, my initiative paid off, as Sarah really liked the idea and asked me to apply on the Center’s behalf. Although I was initially reserved about taking initiative, my organization of the event is one of the reasons I believe I was offered the lead intern role for next semester. I know that not all of my bosses will be as receptive to ideas as Sarah was, but I now know that if I don’t offer my ideas they can never be accepted.
My experience organizing Girl Rising allowed me to network both on campus and within the community. I established contacts with a woman who works in the Library, a PSU club president, and a few professors. If I am asked to organize an event next semester, I can use these contacts to help plan the occasion. Working across different departments is an essential skill because it is transferable to other jobs and offices. Although I didn’t like communicating entirely over email, it is important that I learn and have experience doing so. Most employers want their employees to take initiative in order to inspire innovation. Many of the best global companies, including Google and IBM, encourage their employees to be creative and submit innovative ideas. Many companies are following in these companies’ footprints because corporations that encourage ideas from all employees are extremely successful. Since I know that initiative pays off and I can relate my experience with Girl Rising, employers will know that I am able to work independently with the ultimate goal of identifying ideas that benefit the organization.
Over the past three months I have learned a few things about myself that will help me in the future whether that is in graduate school or in the workforce. I know now that I do my best work when I am organized and set goals for myself. When I began college I quickly realized that keeping a planner would be a crucial determinant of my success. I rarely kept one in high school and my ability to hand in assignments on time suffered dramatically. I applied the importance of organization to the internship because I was determined to make a good impression. I did not want to seem forgetful or distracted so I wrote everything down. I was very good about this for the most part because I am well aware of what happens when I don’t.
My time at the Center for Global Studies introduced me to a potential career in international studies and public relations. Before the internship I knew little about the School of International Affairs located in the Katz Building. However, I recently attended a career discussion and panel at the Katz Building that highlighted the benefits of getting a master’s degree and ways to work internationally or with domestic organizations that have an international focus. This internship confirmed my desire to work either for a Non-Governmental Organization stateside or overseas. I would also like to pursue a career in public outreach or public relations because I enjoy interacting with the public and encouraging international initiatives both on campus and within the community. Unfortunately my interest in public relations was sparked too late in regards to pursuing it as a major. Luckily, however, I am currently enrolled in the intro level class on campus and really enjoy it. Before starting the internship, I was unaware that a majority of my tasks would involve public outreach and creating information about internationally focused events, but I have been happily surprised. Overall, this internship has solidified my desire to work in public relations or public outreach as well as my desire to work for an organization with an international focus.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed the internship at the Center for Global Studies for a variety of reasons. I’ve had first hand experience working in an office and was able to apply what I learned in the classroom in a different setting. I learned the importance of taking initiative in an office and the ability to work independently because many bosses don’t want to micro-manage their subordinates. The international focus solidified my desire to work overseas or for an organization in America with an international focus. I hope I can combine this by working as a public outreach coordinator as well. Next semester, I hope to expand on what I’ve learned by working on different projects and taking on more responsibility.