Bursting the Bubble through International Virtual Internships
Paw Wa Victoria ’22, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Although virtual internships cannot substitute the in-person experience of being physically on-site, they effectively provide professional development and the skills necessary to work internationally, whether virtually or in person. The Beloit Integrated Learning Outcomes will be used to assess my internship experiences’ effectiveness to “replace” my intended enrollment in Glasgow’s pre-med program in Scotland. I will dive into the complications and benefits of interning abroad virtually through evaluating my role as an intern for the two non-profit organizations I worked with. As the two locations are very different regarding the issue they tackle and how the organization is structured, the development of my cultural competency with each experience will also be examined.
The first organization I worked with was the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc. (AAPi), based in Melbourne, Australia. AAPi represents psychologists to the government and to funding bodies. AAPi offers professional development opportunities for the members, aims to increase recognition for psychological expertise, and supports different pathways to registration as a psychologist. Through this experience, I gained insight into the Australian healthcare system, the problematic government policies in place, and the current social issues surrounding them. After this experience, I understood what advocacy means and the skill sets necessary to do so.
The second organization I am currently working with is Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs (MSPC), based in Malawi, South Africa. This organization deals with sustainability by using the principles of permaculture. MSPC aims to help people care for their natural surroundings. By teaching children the skill set to live a sustainable lifestyle, they hope to inspire others in the community to also care for the natural environment. This organization is expanding, and through working with them, I am developing a better understanding of a non-profit organization’s inner working.