Hi, I’m Katie. I am going to be a senior here at Hanover in the fall and I am really excited about being able to blog for the College.
If you are a member of the Business Scholars Program (BSP) or plan on it, you know that the summer internship for juniors is one of the biggest processes that happens at Hanover. Tons of students are trying to land the dream internship, get a stipend and make sure that it qualifies for the class credit. Well, despite being a member of BSP, I wouldn’t consider myself someone who gets overly excited about the thought of working in a large business one day. I wanted to be a member of the BSP because I knew that the skills and connections I would develop would be priceless as I one day had to graduate and venture out into the real world. That being said, an internship in something business-y didn’t quite appeal to me.
I knew that I wanted to go somewhere away from home and I wanted to do something involved in human rights/social justice or not-for-profit, but that was about it. I looked around, but I didn’t find anything that caught my eye. That is, until I found out about a little non-government organization (NGO) in Peru called Volunteers Peru. Professor Criado had spent the previous summer volunteering there and had made the opportunity aware to the students who might be interested in this type of work. Of course, I was hooked.
Volunteers Peru is a small NGO based in Arequipa, Peru. It’s main goal is to support two different projects. One is a home for girls called Casa Hogar Torre Fuerte. This is where I have been spending most of my time and where my internship is based. The goal is to support the needs of the house, as well as the needs of the girls. This means that on any given day I could be helping with math homework, attending a manicure class, helping the girls with their English, or helping make lunch in the kitchen. Along with the duties in the house, I am also learning the ins and outs of the business side of the NGO during my half days working in the office. The second project is based in Tomepampa, a rural village in the Cotahausi canyon region in Southern Peru. Volunteers at this site help in a local public school with classes, teaching and providing a cross-cultural experience.
It isn’t the “normal” internship many students take for their BSP credit, but I thought that it would give me strength in myself as a person and in what type of work I would want to get into after graduation. I have been living here for three weeks already and I have started to learn more than just “work” skills. Riding the busses, cooking for myself, exchanging money and having fun have been just some of the practical life skills I have gained in my short time here, so far.
I knew that living in South America for seven weeks would not be enough time to get the required hours needed and enjoy exploring this new place, so I decided to start blogging, which I also knew that I had an interest in. What better time to blog than when you are living abroad? I thought that spending the summer in Peru would give me plenty of experiences, pictures and life lessons to share. I hope that by writing and sharing my experiences through blogging I can better self-reflect on how I am being changed professionally and personally by this opportunity.
My goal for this internship was twofold: grow as a person and to grow professionally. Growing as a person, to me, means growing up a little bit. Being mature enough to be okay doing things alone, learning to take care of myself, being confident in my abilities and becoming much more in tune with myself. Growing professionally means that I can become more comfortable in a work setting and that I can learn more about what the day-to-day life would look like in this type of work and to see where my desires might lie in professional life.
Thank you for reading, I hope that my experiences can inspire someone out there to take the leap of faith out of their comfort zone and do something adventurous. Because sometimes it takes traveling halfway across the world to find yourself.