When it comes to December…: Reflection of an Internship

By Yizhi “Lois” Luo, Asian Learning Center of Indiana Intern
Asia Learning Center ALCI Indiana

Four months ago, when I was making my argument to a friend of mine about leaving my current job at that time and moving to Indianapolis for a 300-hour unpaid internship at The International Center, I did not know how well this would turn out. I was certainly expecting something new, something that would sharpen me, and something that would open a bigger world for me. Now that it is time to summarize all that I’ve done during this period of time at The Center, I am surprised, encouraged and assured that I made the exactly right decision to participate in this program. The International Center’s internship program met all my expectations and at times even exceeded them.

Indiana Zhejiang Investment Trade Seminar
Volunteer coordination
at the Indiana-Zhejiang Investment & Trade Seminar
As the Strategic Initiatives intern, I acquired great skills of program development, event management, community outreach, and partnership building. I met people from different backgrounds and positions in the city, and have successfully introduced myself into the community, as well as, built start-up relationships with each of them.

ALCI Indianapolis Chinese Festival
 ALCI community outreach at the Indianapolis Chinese Festival
One of the best things about interning at The Center is that I can work with a great team of staff on different projects, and get to explore
the operation of many international programs such as: the Sister Cities relationship, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Indiana-Zhejiang Investment and Trade Seminar; other programs like Naturalization Ceremonies, not necessarily international, but certainly share strong diversity colors. Why is this great? Because as a member of the international community here in Indiana, I desire to facilitate a better communication and understanding among different cultures.  The opportunity to be a part of a driving force that promises a better and more international Indiana certainly makes me excited.
Setsubun evil ogres Japanese
 Roasted soybeans are used during
a Japanese traditional holiday Setsubun to prevent evil ogres

In the duration of my internship at The Center, I worked on a great and fun project. By closely working with my supervisors, I developed Learning about Asia from Food (LAAFF) program: a K-12 focused initiative that is dedicated to promoting the diversity of food culture in Asia. It is absolutely delightful to learn about all of the interesting festival foods in Asian countries!

China Tang Yuan
In China, the round shape of the Tang Yuan
comes to symbolize the family togetherness
Also, by developing the education resource packets, planning local outreach events at schools, different events, and communicating with partners in terms of partnership building, I learned how to manage multiple projects and got to practice initiating partnerships.

Fish Yu Chinese New Year
Fish or yu has the same sound as the word “excess”
in Chinese and is mandatory, especially for the reunion dinner
on Chinese New Year’s Eve

In addition to being more organized, I had to think “out of the box” for various situations, if problems did arise, and solutions or alternatives needed to be decided. I especially feel that the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively is essential, and as I continue on with my journey, I still need to work hard on these skills. Nothing is perfect, and one imperfection of my internship might be the fact that we were out of time to reach some of our goals. While I realize that there is room for improvement in time management, I agree that this is also a part of the learning experience of this internship. I will embrace the results with no regrets and keep improving it for the next time.

Ehomaki Japan
The ehomaki, rolled sushi, with 7 lucky ingredients, is eaten
without pause or chatter while facing
the auspicious direction of the year in Japan
12 Twelve fruits
Gathering 12 round fruits is a part of the New Year
tradition in the Philippines:
each round fruit signifies a month of the year

I can keep on writing and writing about all of the wonderful and inspiring moments of my internship. However, I would rather stop here and let you closely look at the pictures included throughout this entry:  as the popular saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so these pictures are some of the highlights of my internship. Last but not least, I would like to thank everybody at The Center who gave me support, guidance, and helped me grow professionally. Thank you!

Yizhi Luo