People always ask me what it’s like to be an intern at The International Center. Reading the description of the internship, I thought I knew what exactly I was going to be doing and I wouldn’t have any problem telling people what my day to day is like. Oh, how I was wrong! The great thing about being the protocol intern is that every day is different. One day we can be setting up flags for a visiting dignitary, and the next may be spent preparing for a cultural workshop and researching the cultural etiquette of another nation. Coming into the office each Monday, I am presented with another week of challenges that put your critical thinking to the test, and it couldn’t be more exhilarating.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this internship is, however, the interns themselves. Leaving this internship will certainly be a disappointment because it means the end of such an amazing dynamic between all of us here at The International Center. Recently, we interns have begun to schedule a lunch outing every Tuesday to a different restaurant downtown, preferably one that caters to an international cuisine so as to stay true to our title as International Center interns. Each Tuesday gives us a chance to get out of the office and bond together as interns whether it’s over a plate of tandoori, a glass of Thai iced tea, or even over an order of chicken and waffles.
A travel Tuesday lunch spot isn’t the only common ground that all of us interns share, but it’s a perfect example of how all of us come together from different backgrounds and bond over our love of everything international. Learning about the different departments of The International Center from each of the interns allows for us to understand everything it takes to run a successful organization and lets us share our knowledge and experience with each other. Lending a hand to the programs and services department or the marketing department or jumping in on any current project not only gives me valuable insight into the workings of a nonprofit organization, but gives the interns a chance to work with each other and establish great working relationships. Years from now, I hope that I will expand on the great times I have had with the fellow interns and take these experiences into the world.
Sometimes it’s easy to think that an internship is just another stepping stone. Understanding that an internship can be much more has allowed me to take away so much from my time at The International Center thus far including all the fun and excitement that comes from working with such an amazing group of colleagues. Coming up with a new lunch destination or preparing flags for an international festival have both contributed to this amazing internship in their own ways. Keeping these experiences with me as I move on from this internship will leave me so much better off than before I came here. So although my internship is only a little bit more than halfway over, it has already been an amazing time!