I love kids. I’ve been a babysitter, camp counselor, and daycare volunteer for years, this summer I even had a full-time nanny job. There’s nothing more fun than playing pretend or coloring and getting to experience life through the eyes of a child. I have always loved community service. It is something I have always found fulfilling and over the years I have accumulated over 300 hours volunteering for various local organizations and even organizing a toy drive for the Cleveland Clinic. I love to travel to new countries and experience new cultures. I’ve had the privilege to visit multiple countries including Costa Rica, Panama, and Peru. I even recently bought my first plane ticket to Europe and am looking forward to backpacking through the continent next May. My remote internship combined these three passions of mine and gave me professional experience in my dream career field.
My Placement with LIFE Argentina
LIFE Argentina, is a nonprofit that works with youth living in socially marginalized and extremely impoverished areas of Argentina. They carry out a number of programs and activities with the goal of providing for the healthy development, happiness, and a hopeful future for the children. Their programs include providing educational and recreational activities:
- Hosting birthday parties for marginalized children
- Working collaboratively with community centers and soup kitchens in socially excluded areas
- Traveling to the northern province of Misiones to better the heath and long term well being of the children in the indigenus village of Peruti.
I became immersed in the world of nonprofits and giving back to the children who need it the most. I served as Project Assistant to expand their fundraising platform as well as create a nutritional project for the Misiones population to better the nutrition of the children living there. Daily tasks included emailed organizations, launching donation pages, collecting funs, and founded a sponsor a child project.
Rolling with the punches
There were multiple scenarios when I did not have the information or tools I needed to accomplish something, which hindered my plans. I had goals and fell short on occasion because of things out of my control (a little frustrating). It taught me flexibility because once I started focusing on what I could accomplish, instead of what I could not, that was when I was the most successful. I could have become irritated with online platforms I was used to not being available for companies in Argentina. Instead, I focused on being adaptable and found equivalent platforms that worked globally so that supporters do not have to be confined by their country’s borders. I could have become upset because of communication issues between my placement and myself. But instead, I self-reflected on how culture plays a role in attitudes, wording, and communication.
Being aware that these differences were because of our differences in culture, made it easier to overcome them. I focused on making sure I clearly stated what I needed help in, how I could be helped, and what support I needed so that I could be as successful as possible.
Learning New Skills
That is what matters. Not the Instagram posts I created, the emails I sent, or the recommendations I spent hours typing up. What will stick with me are the skills I gained and the growth I saw in myself. The adaptability, flexibility, cultural awareness, and communication skills I obtained are what matters. It made me a better student, a better person, a better professional. What matters is how I grew, what skills I obtained, and how the experience changed me as a person.
My internship was that very first stepping stone. I learned the following skills that will prepare me to move on to new experiences:
- To focus on what I could do when there were things I could not.
- How to work with open-ended goals and less direction and direction than I was used to.
- To not be afraid when I needed to express my needs to a supervisor.
- How to work with others without being able to meet them in person.
- How integrated culture is in every aspect of a person’s personality.
This cross-cultural, professional remote internship was unlike any experience I have had previously. For the first time, I saw how I can take my professional goals, passions, and find a meaningful career. I refined my remote working skills in a new professional environment while working first-hand through cultural differences. I spearheaded projects to make a difference. I’ve discovered how to apply my future nutrition degree in the nonprofit & global health world. This experience allowed me to assess where I was, grow, learn, and gain experience in the professional field and prepared me to take the next step towards my dream career.