Our departing US student intern Emily writes:
“I had just about overcome my jet lag when I walked into Mentoring Plus thirteen weeks ago. I am an American university student studying abroad in Bath for the semester. Well, finishing up my semester actually. It is hard to believe that I will be flying out of Heathrow in just sixteen days.
But back to thirteen weeks ago – I walked into a community charity where I would be interning for three months. I didn’t know what to expect on that first day, and you might think that it would have been a bit nerve-wracking. On the contrary, I received the warmest of introductions from the employees and felt immediately at home, despite being over 3,000 miles (roughly 4,830 km) from my house.
I sensed the dedication and passion for their mission filling the Riverside Youth Hub. It made me excited and inspired to contribute.
The internship objectives focused on engaging potential donors, volunteers, and corporate supporters through social media and a variety of other channels. I spent a considerable amount of time researching social media applications and management tools, recommending strategies to build a greater online presence, and capturing short video clips of the young people’s activity sessions.
However, I ended up having the opportunity to assist in multiple areas of the charity, through administrative tasks, community development, fundraising, event planning, and working directly with the Youth Reps – a group of young people who really brightened my Monday evenings (not an easy feat!)
My responsibilities broadened and my interests concentrated over the course of the semester. I learned a great deal about the inner workings of a local charity, the barriers that affect young people in the region, the cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K., and a bit about myself in the process.
I attribute much of my integration into Bath to Mentoring Plus, where I had numerous opportunities to interact with locals, learn from the staff, and listen to young people in the community.
This city is so much more than the history of the Roman Baths or the grandeur of the Royal Crescent. I am most struck by the people, especially the ones I have come to know through Mentoring Plus. It is easy to get lost in conversation here; whether we were discussing travel, learning about each other’s past experiences, or laughing about our different vernacular, it was always a pleasure.
Not only have I developed my research skills, the art of multi-tasking, and gained confidence in communicating with people of varied backgrounds, but I have also come to truly appreciate the culture of this office and will miss it dearly when I’m back home in the States.
Here are just a few of the many things I’ve learned during my time here:
- “Are you okay?” translates to “How are you?” Nobody is insinuating that you’re upset! It’s a common misconception.
- Tea is always offered – and always served with milk, unless you specify! Thank you to everyone who remembered (and accepted) that I drink my tea black…
- Efficiency at work doesn’t have to mean that people don’t have time for you. I’ve had quality chats with everyone in the office.
- Don’t ignore the voices of the people you’re trying to help. Young people may be young, but they know their struggle better than anyone else and can offer intelligent, logical suggestions and solutions.
- Remember why you’re doing what you do – shout-out to Director Jamie Luck for that salient piece of advice.
Thank you Mentoring Plus for an amazing experience!”
A huge thank you to Emily for a lot of hard work and good humour helping us out, and to Advanced Studies in England for arranging and supporting her internship during her studies here.