Internship Blog Series: International Rescue Committee

Internship Blog Series: International Rescue Committee

My name is Zofia Gallegos, and I am a senior Diplomacy & International Relations and Spanish double major. In Spring 2018, I was the Economic Empowerment Intern at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Elizabeth, NJ. Coming from a family of immigrants, I was always interested in immigration issues and laws governing immigration to the United States. I knew I would be a good fit for an organization like the IRC, which is dedicated to helping people that have just moved to the country to establish themselves and build their lives in the U.S.

While interning at the IRC, I met many different people from diverse backgrounds. Our clients ranged from middle-aged parents looking to provide a better life for their families, to teenagers and small children who moved to the U.S. and look for guidance towards understanding and becoming accustomed to American culture.

Day to day, my work varied greatly, but I always completed case notes regarding our clients and their developments into ETO software. My fellow interns and I also assisted with career development services or job searches on behalf of our clients. Career development might include learning about a client’s education, skills, and past work experience to determine what type of job he or she would be a good match for. Oftentimes, we helped clients obtain more information about a particular career path that they were pursuing, or we informed them of available job opportunities in the area. We utilized job search engines to look for jobs that would fit their salary needs and qualifications. In addition, I participated in team meetings to discuss the current issues, advancements, and concerns in our department. At these meetings, we discussed what we had accomplished over the week, what our challenges were, and something that we had successfully achieved.

My biggest challenges interning at the IRC were language and cultural barriers. Language barriers are self-explanatory; many times, our clients had recently arrived to the U.S. and had only begun the process of learning the English language. Other clients who came from the Middle East or the Caribbean region also required more attention since I only understand English, Spanish and Polish. Interpreters were typically available to translate, but I would make the attempt as well. Ultimately, I was able to turn my challenges into strengths by engaging with IRC clients in an open and friendly manner and having the patience to understand and communicate. I am happy to have had the opportunity to work with the IRC, and their goals to aid those entering America as immigrants are very much aligned with my long-term goals to help those in similar circumstances. I would recommend an internship with the IRC as you meet a host of incredible people, and the role allows you to learn essential skills in communication.

Internship Blog Series: Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Internship Blog Series: Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Dylan Ashdown Internship

Finding a Home at Homeland Security

Hello, my name is Dylan Ashdown and I am currently a Public Affairs intern in the Office of Multimedia, Motion Pictures, and Television, Office of Public Affairs, Department of Homeland Security (DHS). At Seton Hall, I am finishing up two Master’s degrees which will be awarded to me at the end of my internship; one degree will be in Diplomacy and International Relations and the other is in Strategic Communication. This internship has been very beneficial and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested!

I have the “cool” internship. I work directly with the writers and producers of documentaries, television shows, and feature films, along with other “non-news” media stakeholders. Both of my degrees have been of use in this internship. The other day a writer reached out to our office requesting DHS’s help with their show. I ended up spending a few hours researching where I would defect if I was a scientist escaping from an evil government in New York City for a script the writer was working on. This was something that was very relevant to my Diplomacy schooling. In terms of my Strategic Communication classes, I have put together pitch plans for movie producers and interviewed cybersecurity professionals, and technology experts/inventors (all of whom one can find in the Homeland Security).
There is always something exciting happening at DHS. For example, today I attended the daily morning briefing and found out that I was meeting the Secretary of Homeland Security in three hours. Three hour later, I am sitting in a room with 15 other interns getting a briefing directly from the Secretary. This is not your normal internship experience!

Ultimately, the best thing about my internship hasn’t been meeting politically famous people; the best part has been the mentorship that I have received from my supervisor. I never really understood the meaning of a mentor until I started this internship. I asked more questions in my month here at DHS than I ever did in my six years of school and my mentor has gone out of his way to answer all of them. I have learned how to walk, talk, and behave as a public affairs professional in Washington D.C. because of the hours that I have spent with my mentor and because of how much he trusts me to handle projects on my own.

The most rewarding part of my internship is knowing that my work has a direct impact on educating the American people on the work of the Department of Homeland Security. I am very happy that I chose to intern at the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Public Affairs.

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