Virtual Internships Abroad Exploring Civil Societies Around the World

June 7, 2021
By Andrew Orner, CAS '22

Argentine Network for International Cooperation (RACI) - Buenos Aires, Argentina

This summer, I am interning at the Argentine Network for International Cooperation (RACI) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was drawn to the Penn Virtual Internship Abroad program by a desire to gain experience interacting and working with people in different countries, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flexibility, foreign language skill development, and cultural engagement components of the program sealed the deal for me.

The process to secure an internship through the Penn Virtual Internship Abroad Program was very smooth. The placement agency that I worked with helped me to hone my resume and cover letter and very quickly came back to me with an opportunity to interview with RACI. I could tell right away that RACI would be a good fit for me because it brought together two areas that I am passionate about research and public policy.

At RACI, I am a member of a research team focused on monitoring COVID-19 and its effects on civil society organizations around the world. I am part of the sub-team focused on Africa. My work primarily consists of online research into different African countries. We are particularly interested in the relationships between civil society organizations and the government. Like so many other parts of societies, the COVID-19 pandemic has stressed these relationships sparking both new tensions and new opportunities for collaboration. I am excited to continue working with my colleagues at RACI. I have been challenging myself to communicate with my colleagues in Spanish to practice. As a long-time student of Spanish, I am so grateful for the opportunity to put my skills to use and push my abilities to the next level. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will continue my research, engage in collaborative meetings, and help draft reports that synthesize trends from around the region and the world.

In addition, to my work, I have also enjoyed my cultural immersion activities. Even though I cannot be physically in Buenos Aires, I am learning about the city and Argentina. One activity that was a lot of fun was a Kahoot set up by the internship placement agency in Argentina. We watched videos about the unique elements of Argentinian culture and history and then answered questions about the topics that we learned about. Everyone that I have met has been very friendly and made our video calls lively and fun.

I look forward to continuing my virtual experience and further honing my skills and deepening my appreciation for Argentina.

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The Virtual Internships Abroad (VIA) program provides self-directed and motivated Penn undergraduate students the opportunity to gain a fully funded professional work experience over the summer with a global employer, with the added convenience of working remotely.