GRIP, Internships Abroad Post-internship Reflection

September 14, 2021
By Xiteng Lin, LPS '22

Ualá - Buenos Aires, Argentina

My internship experience this summer has helped me define my professional goals much more clearly as I am about to finish my studies in the upcoming year. I benefited a lot from the “international job curation” session offered by host-site organization Puentes as well as from all the conversations with my supervisor. I became fascinated by career paths related to international development and public policy, those that will expose me to the types of global experiences similar to what I have gained from this particular internship program. On a personal level, this internship project has made me become a more compassionate individual, helping to foster the virtue of humility and curiosity.

Thinking back on this GRIP experience, even though our cohort was not able to be physically present in the host countries, we still had an amazing cultural immersion experience that helped improve my cultural competency and language skills. Working with colleagues from another part of the world was both a challenge and an opportunity to gain perspectives I’ve never considered before. One example of this is me getting used to the way people communicate Spanish in Argentina which was distinct from how I was taught in school. Another example is doing research entirely in Spanish and reading news articles and papers published by local organizations which allowed me to understand social contexts as close to first-hand as it gets from abroad.

In terms of identity, the internship experience taught me what it means to be a global citizen. Despite the fact that people are from different countries with unique personal backgrounds and stories, I’ve come to realize that we share more in common than we are different- people face surprisingly similar challenges but nonetheless work together to find ways to overcome them.

To my pre-internship self, I would say that I should fully embrace and value the time during this period because it really goes fast, and there might not be enough time to experience everything. I would also tell myself to be patient at the same time since the work I do will take a long time to become a reality, and it is crucial to set my feet on the ground and allow things to run their course.

I’m most proud of myself for being able to quickly jump into the social and cultural reality of Argentina and work on many sensitive topics in diversity, equity, and inclusion. From the initial research phase, to drafting a strategy report and presenting it to the CEO, a tremendous amount of work was put into both educating myself and creating something for the betterment of the company. I am grateful that my work will help set up a foundation and transform Ualá’s approach to human capital management, and prepare my supervisor to assume her new leadership role as the diversity and inclusion leader.

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The Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to intern or conduct research abroad for 8 to 12 weeks over the summer. Participants gain career-enhancing experience and global exposure that is essential in a global workforce.