“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact,” by Lee Brown. As a CGS intern, this is exactly what I want to do; I want to leave my mark on the world starting with Penn State. To do so, I will continue the Center’s mission of educating Penn State and the local community about globalization. However, this was not the main reason I applied for this internship. As a sophomore, I have no idea what I want to do after graduation and it petrifies me. I am majoring in International Politics and Global and International Studies and that literally means a million things. I could choose to work in one of thousands of government jobs, or one of millions of NGO’S, non-profits, and who knows what else global studies can do for me. This is why I applied for the CGS internship; I wanted to help narrow down my post graduation plans. Then, things changed. As I was preparing for my interview, I read all the intern blogs and became really excited about the opportunity to put all my previous experience into one practical work environment. Not only that, but I will be interviewing professionals in fields I am interested in, blog (which I secretly love to do), work in a collaborative setting with two other interns, the Associate Director Sarah Lyall-Combs, and Mary Price along with other things.
This is my first internship and I have a lot of expectations based on the stories I read from previous interns and what I already know about internships.
My expectations are:
- Gain valuable work experience to help boost my resume for future internships or careers
- Learn more about this field and different paths I can take
- Network with professionals in fields related to my major
- Learn how to analytically think and solve problems in this field
- Gain exposure to challenges of working in global studies
- And have FUN!!!
In the short week that I have been working for the Center, I wrote my first press release for the brown bag series. When Sarah asked me to write it, I was naturally nervous, but I said yes because this is why I am here. I want to learn in anyway that I can whether that be how to conduct a formal interview or write a press release.
I am confident that as the weeks go by I will be challenged in ways that will make me grow as a professional and a person.
I wanted to end my Graduate Assistantship with zero records of big mistakes, unfortunately this was not the case…
Part of my tasks as a Graduate Assistant is to video tape all of our events and post them on our YouTube channel. It is recommended to download the videos from the camera to your computer and post them on YouTube as fast as possible. However, being on the final weeks of the semester and of my time here at Penn State as a graduate student I had too many things on my plate and I did export the videos to my computer but I didn’t edit the videos right to post them on YouTube.
Long story short, I lost all the files from my computer (including the videos) and I had already deleted them from the video camera. After visiting all the data recovery stores of downtown State College, I was informed there was no guarantee I was going to recover the videos.
I was very nervous and stressed to tell my supervisor the bad news. I am usually a perfectionist and strongly dislike when I mess up, however there was nothing else I could do this time to fix the problem but to come up front and be honest about what happened.
Fortunately, my supervisor was kind and very understanding. She was not pleased to hear the news, but told me to take it as a learning lesson.
Two weeks later, we went for lunch with the whole CGS team including Sophia McClennen, the Director of the Center. I was still pretty embarrassed for my past mistake, but it was very comforting to listen from all the mistakes each of the team members did during their careers at the CGS.
Even though I did not end my term as a Graduate Assistant with a clean mistake record as I wanted, I did end it with a life lesson. Sometimes you mess up, and it is not ideal, and when these things happen the most important thing is to be candid about it and learn from your mistakes.
Interning with the Center for Global Studies throughout this semester has been an indispensable experience. I have had the opportunity to partake in so many projects such as writing monthly collaborative newsletters about events on campus, creating flyers and PowerPoints, attending and photographing CGS’s Brown Bag Series, which included global studies related lectures given by professors and graduate students on topics such as sustainability, gender justice, Confucianism, expats in hardship locations, and many more. Additionally, I helped photograph and manage the Spring 2015 Undergraduate Thesis Symposium. During that time, I had the opportunity to listen to and learn about Penn State University and University of Pittsburgh students’ brilliant and innovative research topics with feedback from doctoral degree students.
One of my favorite things that I’ve done this semester was organizing and attending our World Stories Alive series at Schlow library. Lastly, my very favorite project that I have done this semester was run a Chinese mythology and folklore club at a local elementary school in State College called Young Scholars Charter School.
This internship has also helped me learn time management skills. During this semester I have had to write my honors thesis, keep up with demanding school work, and tutor English to Chinese students (my part-time job) all while completing CGS tasks. Somehow I’ve managed to do it all, thanks to the help of Sarah and Mary, and am finally ready to graduate and apply my newly developed global studies skills in the real world.
This month’s most memorable learning experience to me was volunteering at Penn State German Day. When I was in high school, I remember attending German Day with my German class and favorite professor. It was always fun to get a day off of school to compete for prizes while participating in my favorite activity: learning German. As a high school student, I remember the activities always being fun and engaging, especially because of the prizes that could be won at the end. I also remember interacting with a lot of fun volunteers, who were all college students taking German, that seemed so old to me at the time.
It was interesting being on the other end and actually being the person I thought was once so old. Interacting with students who were just as excited about German as me was both fun and a learning experience. I found that when I was involved in something I was truly passionate about, I found myself more engaged in that activity. The best part of the experience was running into my high school German teacher, who was thrilled to learn I was pursuing German as a minor. Penn State has given me so many incredible opportunities to better myself in German, from the outstanding teachers to the numerous study abroad experiences they offer. I was proud to be apart of educating high school students about these opportunities as well. I hope I inspired them to pursue German in the future.
Me volunteering at Penn State German Day
This month my involvement was mostly with the “World Stories Alive” series. A series where we organize speakers to come in and read to children in a different language, sing a song, and make a craft. In the beginning of the month, I assisted with the Korean day. The event went really well, although, we decided some necessary improvements for the future would have to be made. The changes we had in mind were having a louder speaker and creating a craft that is easier for children. Some things that went well were the story itself and the speakers’ engagement while singing the songs with the kids.
Next weekend was my event, Turkish day. Before the event, I enjoyed creating the handout and was able to add elements of my own creativity in with the background images and color. Next, we had to decide on a craft. We eventually agreed to use last year’s craft, the evil eye, but I wanted to find a way to improve the craft so we didn’t run into any difficulty like last week. Because the craft required the children to cut felt, I cut holes in cardboard to create templates for the children to use.
The woman who was reading that day, Merve, was a Global Studies intern from last year, so I enjoyed talking to her. She was very good with kids, which made my job easier. Although attendance was low because the children’s department was closed today for renovations, I believe the children who were there got a lot out of the experience. They were able to sit on carpet squares instead of their parents’ laps so the whole experience was much easier for them to pay attention to. This tactic was better than the previous week, and we will continue to use the carpet squares because it will be easier for the kids to understand a difficult speaker if they are closer up in the future. We encouraged Merve to sing with the children like the speaker the previous week had done, which the children really enjoyed. The children also loved the craft, and the templates really improved their ability to design cut the felt.
Overall, even though attendance was low, the event went really well. I took things away from the previous week that I thought went well and what didn’t go well and applied them to my event. I also really enjoyed the experience of working with children and having the opportunity to combine my public relations skills with an event like this.
Above is a participate with the completed evil eye craft and speaker Merve reading to other participants.
This is the first semester I am doing an internship with The Center for Global Studies at Penn State. So far already within the first month, I have been a part of attending and/or organizing many enriching events. I’ve created flyers, worked with presenters, participated in the World Stories Alive event held at Schlow library with children and their parents, and also contributed to our monthly newsletter.
I think the most rewarding thing of all is that I started running my own club concerning Chinese Mythology and Folklore at YSCP charter school for children in Kindergarten through second grade. I held my first club meeting last week and I taught the children about a traditional Chinese New Year legend. The kids were a lot to handle, but they have vast imaginations and an admirable willingness to learn and share. I am really looking forward to spending time with them throughout the rest of the semester.
Because I want to teach English to children in China after I graduate this semester, working with these kids will be extremely beneficial and a wonderful learning experience for me. I am grateful to the Global Studies program for creating these events and giving their interns a great deal of opportunity to get involved and gain more exposure in our respective fields.
Additionally, I am planning to organize an Asian Language day for all of the students learning Asian languages offered at Penn State. It is an opportunity for everyone to get together, share cultures and language, sing songs, and build a deeper connection and understanding with countries outside of their focus.
With my experiences as a Global Studies intern, I aspire to gain more skills in communication, time management, networking, and event planning and organization skills. I hope to keep doing more events like this throughout the semester and I can’t wait to see what the future of the Global Studies program holds.