My summer program took place in London, where I had the privilege to study, work, and research—all while learning more about the city itself and growing as a global citizen. My course studied theatre in London and therefore class included our viewing of six different plays, one of which we saw at the iconic Globe theatre and another in Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare’s hometown. Additionally, I had the unique opportunity to intern for a Member of British Parliament. As a politically minded person, it was a phenomenal experience for me. I interacted with constituents and government agencies, witnessed Parliament in action, and was forced to challenge some of my perspectives on some global issues. Research was a component of my internship and when my work was over, I submitted a research paper regarding youth voting trends in America and the U.K.
Although my time interning for Rupa, my MP, was brief, I do feel content that I worked hard to positively impact, even slightly, her constituents. Being an American intern, I was somewhat surprised at the level of responsibility I was given in Rupa’s office. I dealt with constituents directly, providing the best assistance possible in cases of visa troubles, housing crises, and various other disputes. It was my responsibility to contact the appropriate government agency or private company on Rupa’s behalf in order to help alleviate some of the stressors on her constituency. The victories were few (the bureaucratic process is a tedious thing that I could not defeat in two months), but when they happened, I felt so grateful that I was able to help someone in need. It was very eye-opening for me. There is too much I could say about how impactful my experience was.
My major is Global and International Studies with a focus in Human Rights, which prepared me very well for my abroad experience. GLIS is a very interdisciplinary major, so I have been exposed to an incredibly wide variety of information in regards to our world and its increasingly globalized nature. Having a basic knowledge of world politics, economic systems, and other similar topics helped to readily prepare me for my studies abroad. I also found my Human Rights focus helpful in that, during my time with Rupa, I witnessed some of the real-life consequences of human rights violations around the world. I think it would’ve been much more difficult for me to help someone attempting to gain asylum into England if I didn’t have my prior knowledge thanks to GLIS. I gained real life experience in my field through this program.
At the risk of sounding redundant, I learned so many different things this summer. I learned how to navigate a foreign city and culture. Through my classwork, I was exposed to a side of theatre that I was previously unaware of, while becoming more knowledgeable about the history of art in London. My internship provided for me tangible experience in a field I may one day enter, while teaching me about everything from U.K. workplace environments to global politics. My plans post-graduation are not very solid at the moment. I graduate next fall semester, and am hoping to spend what would be my senior spring semester either working or in a fellowship program. After that, I may enter law school. However, regardless of where I end up, I am confident that this experience has bolstered my ability to succeed in my chosen field.