Monthly Archives: September 2015

Expanding my knowledge and balancing my time

When I applied for the Graduate Research Assistant position for the Center for Global Studies, I did it not only because I thought it would be a good work experience, but also because I was genuinely interested on the center’s interdisciplinary research initiatives: justice, sustainability, and ethical leadership. Being from a third world country (Venezuela), where every day is a battle for justice against unethical leadership, I can closely relate to those topics.

By joining the CGS team I expected to gain exposure to professionals in these fields, and also to interact with people who shared the same passion I did on raising awareness on global matters.

I am happy to say that so far my work experience at the center has lived up to my expectations. I get to help with the organization of events that educate students on ethical issues all over the world, I get to promote the teaching of foreign languages to young children, and expand my cultural appreciation.

One of the events I helped promoting was a discussion on girls and women rights in Afghanistan. By promoting and attending the event, I learned about how the laws in Afghanistan are changing slowly but steadily to stimulate fairness on how women are treated. Besides this extraordinary learning experience, I also got to meet the speakers. The networking aspect the CGS provides was something I did not expect when I joined the team, but I definitely appreciate it.

I have other tasks besides event planning. I am in charge of the CGS’s social media accounts, I assist in administrative tasks, and I will be helping with grant reports.

It is the first time in my life I am working and studying at the same time, so I am also learning to balance two different aspects of my professional formation and I am further developing my time management skills.

So far, I can say I have been enjoying my time at the center, and I am looking forward to learning and meeting more professionals that are making an ethical impact on the world.

Round Two

Here I am! Back again! After another panic attack this year after realizing that I will be gone for half of another summer abroad, making an internship experience, yet again impossible, I have double-downed and re-upped with the Center for Global Studies as an intern.

This semester, I am the most experienced and longest-standing member of the intern staff, which is a little daunting considering I’ve only been here one semester. But, with my flyer-making skills and newsletter-writing abilities now honed, the internship somehow seems less intimidating this semester even though I believe that I’m currently putting in more man hours per week.

Also, last semester I somehow managed to weasel my way out of planning the dreaded “intern event”, by placating Sarah by present my research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Pittsburgh. This semester, there will be no such relief. With November and International Education Week fast approaching, I can already feel the anxiety starting to creep up on me. While I have a pretty solid idea of the event I’d like to put on, (which I have already started attempting to execute with a flurry of emails) I can only hope everything will be set in time for November.

I am glad to be back for another semester, however, and experience a bunch of new event the Center has to offer. Last semester, was the Spring Series of events and most of the interns’ time and effort was put towards executing the World Stories Alive series at the Schlow Library every Saturday morning. While that was rewarding in its own ways, I’m very excited to be experiencing a slew of new events and lecture series this semester and what seems to be an awesome line-up of guest speakers. Considering I’m not huge on interacting with small children, I think this semester will be much more interesting for me in terms of attending events.

With this better understanding of the internship under my belt, I think that I’ve finally appropriately prepared myself for all the challenges and obstacles that might be thrown my way this semester.

Beginning My Partnership with CGS

After interning at the Center for Global Studies (CGS) for about a month now, I am finally able to reflect on my first impressions and experiences with the organization. At first glance, the internship can be daunting. On our first meeting sitting down together with all the interns and our advisor, Sarah Lyall-Combs, I was assigned the task of writing a press release for an upcoming talk at Penn State.

Naturally, I had no idea how to go about making a press release or quite honestly, what a press release even was. I instantly became anxious and proceeded to have a minor panic attack that maybe I wasn’t as qualified for the job as I thought I was. To my relief, however, Sarah is accustomed to new interns. She anticipated my concerns and showed me several examples of last year’s press releases. Together we made several drafts and the finished product even made it to the Penn State news website.

Since then I have successfully conquered a number of projects. I can now (somewhat) confidently create a press release. I have designed flyers for upcoming events, and more importantly, I have learned how to communicate with professionals. I am slowly mastering the ever-so-delicate art of corresponding formally via e-mail, and at the end of this week I will even be interviewing a professor from Columbia University.

All of these skills are those which are meant to prepare us for a professional career outside of college. I call the internship a partnership because although we are working to assist the Center for Global Studies in daily events and programming, we are simultaneously gaining experience in areas directly related to our fields of study. Sarah encourages us daily to make connections with what we do in the office to what we want to do after college.

Currently, each intern is tasked with planning and coordinating an event for Penn State’s International Education Week. We all have the liberty to relate the event directly to our studies. Personally, this is one of the most exciting assignments of the internship for me. As a Chinese major, there are very few opportunities around campus that relate to learning Chinese culture. I’m really looking forward to being able to share such an interesting and unique culture to a campus whose exposure to China is very limited.

Each day I continue to learn something new at CGS. I think I’ve collectively asked Sarah more questions in the first month of this internship than all of my classes combined, but her patience with us has yet to run out! Although it has only been a month, I have been introduced to a whole new world of community outreach and global education. I am actually planning to attend a few of the Arabic and South Asian film series film nights not out of obligation but because I want to. I’m a movie buff at heart and I think the cultural film series is one of the most interesting events that CGS has to offer.

I’m happy to say that my experiences so far with the Center for Global Studies have been completely positive. I’m eager to plan and carry out more events throughout the semester and hope to be able to report back on a new set of skills and experiences. I’m grateful to CGS for the opportunity to not only improve myself and my knowledge of global education, but also to be able to share these experiences with the rest of Penn State.