I am interning for the semester in Quito, Ecuador at an organization called the Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU), or the Ecumenical Commission of Human Rights. I got to be involved in this opportunity through my study abroad program, IES Abroad. They helped me to set it up and are also giving me a background class once a week to supplement my learning base regarding the business world here.
The typical day at my internship varies day to day. I work at CEDHU once a week right now, but also have participated in an event they put on last week, called El Encuentro Nacional de Comunicación, which was an event bringing together journalists and radio professionals from all over the country. The work that I do at my internship is usually logistical and usually takes place on the computer. That isn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it has helped me to grow all the same. I have completed projects that had to do with surveys the organization has done, called and contacted clients, and formed informational outlines for future workshops that CEDHU hosts.
I believe that I have grown in a professional sense because I have learned how to handle myself in such a different situation as a work environment in a foreign country. That isn’t the typical college kid experience. But yet here I am, lucky enough to be able to learn about how people do business in Spanish, in Ecuador. If learning how to operate in a foreign work environment isn’t professional growth, I don’t know what is! I have learned to see business through the eyes of a Latin American business instead of having my American blinders on like usual. It’s completely different. They are much more relaxed here than we are back in the States. Timing isn’t the end-all-be-all like Americans view it to be. The environment seems so, so much more relaxed compared to the work environment in the U.S. Besides being able to expand my skills, I have also expanded my networking and professional contacts through this opportunity. This internship has been truly been invaluable for my knowledge accumulation, cultural understanding, and for any career I find myself in in the future.