Recently, two senior students of Roanoke College embarked on two different internships in Washington D.C. While one, Kristin Read, interned at a non-profit law office; the other, Zach Ryan, was at a non-profit lobbying organization for U.S. sailors and veterans.
Kristin is a Political Science and Sociology double major, and also minors in Spanish with a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean studies, while Zach is also a Political Science major.
A few days ago, I interviewed two students who went to D.C. to intern for the previous semester, and was curious to see their response. The internships they were both involved in were very set apart from the others, and were both ones that I had never heard of. Because of this, I was very interested in seeing what their lives had been like the previous months, and the following article is their response. Kristin spoke on how her time working with the Mil Mujeres Legal Services, a non-profit that focused on working with Hispanic immigrants, and it was evident that not only did she enjoy her time there, but that the office she was located in was clearly made for her interests. According to both Kristin and Zach, the atmosphere that surrounded their offices were extremely laid-back, and it definitely made a difference in how they both experienced the internships. One of the things Kristin commented on was how she was nervous about the idea of constantly repeating the same situations everyday, but looking back she said the time she spent there and the situations she encountered were always unique in their own ways. Both students were adamant about how their experiences in D.C. were extremely interesting and unique in each case, and though the procedures may have been the same at times, it never took away from their experiences. Before the internship Kristin said that she knew Spanish, but never had the nerve to walk up to someone and speak to them in a language that wasn’t her own; however, as she continued to work there her confidence grew and she was slowly encouraged to speak to people, “It was nice being confident enough to walk up to people in a restaurant and be able to ask them how they were or where they were from”. Being in an environment everyday that was based around another language really opened up her ideas and expectations of what knowing the language really meant, and how it could effect her life and future work experience. While Kristin was working with Mil Mujeres, Zach was spending his time essentially being a lobbyist for the Association of the United States Navy, which is a nonprofit lobbyist organization for U.S sailors and veterans.
One of the things I was curious of when speaking to the two was if there were defining aspects of their trips changed what they both had originally had planned for their life, and the answer was a yes from both of them. Zach was pretty intentional about going into Politics when he graduated, but by doing this internship he realized that something he would need more experience in sales if he ever wanted to go that route, and it essentially gave him a better idea of what his future needed to look like. Kristin was swayed as well into rethinking a future in law, “Law school had been an idea in my mind”, Kristin explained, “but after this experience it is definitely something I am considering.” When speaking to both students it was obvious how much the internships had impacted them for the better, and I believe that if anyone had been sitting there with them, they would’ve been more than intrigued to look into this type of internship after speaking with them. Interning in D.C. could definitely sound daunting at first, seeing how the hustle of the city could scare some, or the intense work ethic that seems to encompass the city could seem a bit challenging. But after speaking to these two, I would definitely recommend trying the experience out, no matter the major you choose. The opportunities and the simple life lessons it could give someone could be life altering, and it was obvious from talking to both students that the events and experiences they both shared were things they would encourage anyone else around them to try out.