Professional development is always on the mind of Deborah Kick ’15. That’s one of the reasons she decided to pursue an internship abroad instead of settling for the typical exchange student study abroad experience.
“I wanted to apply what I learned in my major classes to the professional world,” she says “specifically, to see how much the legal and political theories I have learned about are applicable to the ‘real world.’”
As a Policy Intern at the Turkish Cypriot Community Association in London, Deborah is certainly getting a chance to test those theories.
Her major project as an intern is to review and revise the organization’s Constitution and policies and procedures. Doing so requires her to become familiar with the current UK legal standards on charities, Homecare systems, and companies, and to review and understand current UK laws like the Charities Act of 2011.
This real-world legal research and review is exactly what Deborah was hoping to experience. “I know I want to go to law school after I graduate from UMass, but I do not know what I want to do with my JD,” she says. “I wanted my internship to give me some guidance and insight as to some career possibilities after law school.”
And, to be frank, the experience is a resume-booster. She is adding to both the “work experience” she can list in her resume and to her professional skill-set.
She is also learning more about herself: “Through an internship, you learn about your strengths and weakness in the professional world, such as the strength of your communication skills, or how motivated you are on your own to complete an assigned task,” she says.
Deborah, for instance, is learning the professional business etiquette and office skills that cannot be taught in a classroom.
“Although I am not even a month into my internship, I have already learned some valuable skills that will help in my professional career,” she says, “like how to have quick, succinct phone conversations with my superiors, or other employees, to get the information I need, and to distinguish between when it is more appropriate to contact someone in the office through a phone call, through e-mail, or through face-to-face contact.”
She is also learning how to adapt when things do not work out as intended. In this area, she offers advice to other students pursuing internships: “Focus on the positives of your experience, do not be too harsh on your missteps, and view your internship as a learning experience!”
Overall, the internship allows Deborah to make the most of her college experience. “Your experience cannot just be defined by sitting in a classroom and participating in extracurriculars,” she says. “You must also have your own experiences, specifically in the professional world, to develop an understanding of what you personally want to get out of that world after undegrad.”
Students interested in their own international, professional experiences should contact the International Programs Office.
- Student News