Intern: Caroline Graff
Class Year: 2013
Internship Title: Volunteer at Wildlife Park/Teacher’s assistant to Refugee children learning English
Company: Travellers Worldwide
Briefly tell us about the organization you were with:
Travellers Worldwide is an organization that sends volunteers around the world to work in a variety of different projects. During the time spent abroad volunteers are immersed in different culture where they get the chance to experience life in another country. All programs are at least six weeks long but can be extended to a full semester.
How would you describe the various projects you did in for your organization to someone who is unfamiliar with your field? I worked in two different projects. One was at a wildlife park where I was able to meet the locals as well as travelers visiting the park from around the country and even around the world! I got to experience working with various animals, mainly marsupials and birds. The second project I worked on was at as a Teacher’s Assistant in an Intensive English Center for refugee children.
What did you like best about this internship? What was most challenging?
I particularly enjoyed working with the children at the school I was with. It gave me an opportunity I had never had before. I got to learn about their culture and meet kids from all around the world who came to Australia to make a new life. I gained a great deal from the experience–it opened my eyes to how important it is to have institutions that allow for immigrants to assimilate to their new culture. The hardest part was having to come back home!
How did you gain credit for this internship?
I took the service learning class, EDSS 239, at UVM where I did various readings and wrote papers connecting them to my experience.
What impact did this internship have on your career direction?
As a psychology major, working with the children allowed me to realize I have a love for kids, and it got me thinking about doing something in the psychology field where I would be able to work with kids. Working with refugees was also particularly interesting and I would enjoy doing something like that as well.
What advice do you have for students searching for internships?
Trying an internship in something you’ve never done before or that doesn’t have to do with your major can also be a good thing where you’ll learn a lot and it may introduce you to something you’ll be interested in.
Why should students do an internship?
Internships allow you to gain a different experience than you do in the classroom. Particularly if you usually take large lecture classes, internships allow you to gain hands on experience. I found the internship work to be a relief from some of the classroom stresses of having to take exams. You get the opportunity to work on something you choose to explore more deeply and it can be an eye opening experience.