Intern name: Aubrey Walter
Major(s)/Minor(s): Global Business Leadership Major and Environmental Studies Minor
Title/place of internship/fellowship/etc.: Intern with ECO-UNESCO in Dublin
How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.? I was matched with my internship at ECO-UNESCO as part of my study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland under the Foundation for International Education (FIE). After discussing my passions and interests with me, the staff of FIE paired me with ECO-UNESCO, an environmental NGO that works to conserve the environment and empower young people.
What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.? My responsibilities mainly involve assisting in the development and planning of the Young Environmentalist Awards, an Ireland-wide environmental awards program that recognizes young people who raise environmental awareness and seek to improve the environment. Alongside the YEA Coordinator, I utilize project management skills to organize the eight YEA semi-finals events, which will take place in cities across Ireland. Every day is different when working in the field of event and project management, and while some days are spent in the office, I have often been swept away with my supervisor to venues across the city to meet with individuals in a variety of sectors who will play a role in our events.
From communicating with environmental and public policy experts, to maintaining organized project plans and checklists, this role has given me a great deal of agency and responsibility.
What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience? The opportunity to intern while studying abroad for the semester has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only have I been immersed in Ireland by living and taking classes here, but my internship has allowed me to experience the work culture as well. I've been able to build relationships with my co-workers, many of whom were born and raised in Ireland, and who are also passionate about the environment. My internship continues to teach me not only about Ireland and its unique work culture, but about myself as well.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.? It has been surprising how much responsibility I have been given at my worksite, even as an intern. It was clear from the first few weeks of my internship that my site was expecting a lot out of me, and they needed my help. I was surprised by this, as an international student coming into an entirely new culture. However, this has allowed my internship to be extremely fulfilling and interactive, and I've been able to learn a lot.
How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future? My internship experience has allowed me to reflect a great deal on my own professional and career interests. I've been able to decipher what it is about my role that I enjoy - seeing a project come to fruition, being depended on, working with a team, and staying organized to meet deadlines. Because of the experience at my internship, I am now looking into project management as a potential career path.
What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience? Intern! This will be an incredibly impactful experience. If you apply yourself and are open and accepting of the role, you will grow immensely, personally and professionally.