Working at a Non-Profit in Beijing: Americans Promoting Study Aboard

Tai Tran's photo

Original post written by Tai Tran ’18, participant in the Davidson in East Asia Internship Program.

My experience at Americans Promoting Study Abroad has confirmed quite a few things I have read about working with non-profit organizations. First of all I would like to point out that this is an organization I have had quite a big insight and familiarity with before asking for an internship position for. APSA began with partnerships with quite a few other non-profit organizations. The idea was to have these other organizations who were more well established help APSA get on its feet and walk alone. However, that was never really achieved. Thus, we have the situation I am in now. An organization that is about eight years old yet does not have the stable base that it should have at this point. In our team of three, with two staff members from the One World Now organization, this summer we have a group of 21 students and a curriculum that we build as we go. There is far too much work to be done and there is only one full time staff member here in Beijing, our Executive Director. Being overworked and understaffed, that was my impression of a non-profit organization.

But many people would never believe the results we are able to churn out. To get so much done, with only a few staff members, within a limited amount of time, and resources, in my opinion we are all amazing here at APSA. And I am sure this is true for many other non-profits. The amount of fun and self discovery I have been able to enjoy during my internship has only left me with a positive impression. My research skills came in handy when it came to formulating short summaries of sites with hundreds of years of history and significance. My experience at Davidson College has taught me to wear many hats at one time in order to help us stick to a schedule or program. Although I have yet to actually find myself applying what I have learned in classes, other than my Chinese language classes, I have taken at Davidson College, my experience with extra-curricular clubs and networking has given me a better grasp of the real world and what it means to get work done at Americans Promoting Study Abroad.

Read more posts from the Davidson in East Asia Internship Program.

Working in Singapore

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Original post written by Jack Shumway ’19, participant in the Davidson in East Asia Internship Program.

For a product-testing and certification company, Singapore is a great place to do business. The country itself is fixated  on quality and fervent in its desire to produce world class products, both of which lead to demanding regulations and a constant need for testing and certification. But opportunity also flows in from beyond the country’s compact borders. Singapore’s grade-A business infrastructure, and business-friendly rule of law make it a regional business hub for all of southeast Asia. Businesses in neighboring countries seeking to market products beyond their own borders naturally turn to Singapore for testing and certification services, making it a  truly ideal place for such a company like TÜV-SÜD to set up shop.

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So, What Will You Do With That Major? Finally, An Answer.

%22What Will You Do WithThe British flag, an empty parking lot, and a long, glass wall: the first three things I saw when arriving to my job shadowing day. As I pulled into the “Visitor” space, I was still trying to determine why Oxford University Press has an office in Cary, North Carolina of all places. And I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous, and in need of a good distraction. I strode through the front door, anxious yet curious.

Prior to the day, I had no thoughts of pursuing a career in publishing. Being an English major at Davidson, I was taught that I could go anywhere, do anything with the skills I’ve accrued. The outside world, however, was not as encouraging. Instead, people asked me, “so what will you do with that major?” How do you answer that question?

In November of my senior year, I still had no satisfactory reply, and I figured taste-testing a few different jobs was a good place to start. So, I strode into the Oxford University Press reception area, half-excited, half-terrified, and completely ready to learn.

I expected there to be moments of down time, when my job shadowing host would have to complete a small task or run an errand, but not so. My job shadowing host planned a full day for me, filled with real meetings, discussions, and introductions to employees in various departments of the company. I even toured the massive warehouse, from which all OUP books and products are distributed in the United States. Fun fact: Amazon buys so many books from OUP that it has its own special section.

Katie Bennett '16 (right) with Molly Hansen, her job shadowing host at Oxford University Press.
Katie Bennett ’16 (right) with Molly Hansen, her job shadowing host at Oxford University Press.

The people I met at OUP proved to be invaluable. I gained access to an extensive network of working professionals willing to help, educate and inspire me in this line of work. I remained in contact with several of them after my visit, and my job shadowing host took a particular interest in my career aspirations, sending me potential job opportunities and lengthy emails containing critical advice. The connections I made at the Press enabled me to follow an entirely different path than I anticipated, and I only wish I could have participated in this program sooner than I did.

So I end with an urgent message to Davidson underclassmen: please, if you do anything during your career search, USE THIS PROGRAM. You will learn so much. You will meet people willing to help you in your journey. And you will finally have a few answers in your pocket when someone asks that dreadful question “so what are you going to do with that major?” Oh, let me tell you.

Data Analytics as a Stand-In for Life

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Original post written by Kenny Xu ’19, participant in the DavidsonIE Internship Program.

Living alone for the first time is hard enough.  Living alone for the first time, working 40 hours a week in an industry you’ve barely touched – data analytics (as a likely English major) – that’s a little harder.

But like most Davidson students, I like a good challenge. Had I been flushed down a vapid, unstimulating internship with little to do except get coffee for my boss, I might have exploded.  That’s why it’s so fortunate that my stint so far at Stratifyd Inc. has been nothing short of eye-opening.  So new is this upstart startup in the lanky suburbs of South Charlotte that I was treated just like a full-time employee.  I was constantly pulled into meetings with senior executives, grafted with something only heard in college-student legends, perhaps in whispers or rumors but rarely ever documented – real responsibility.  It is this blessed “real responsibility” that has defined my tenure here at Stratifyd, and something that, now that I have it, I never want to let go.

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Wildcats in Washington: At the Intersection of Policy and Diplomacy

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Original story written by Maria Antonia Bravo ’18, participant in the Davidson in Washington program.

Last year, I was in the heart of the Colombian jungle, seeking answers as to why the production of a fruit that a whole village depended on had significantly dropped. Fast forward a year, and I am stuck in the D.C. metro – among its multiple repairs and detours – trying to figure out which line and direction I should get on to get to my internship.

What do these two experiences have in common? Well, of course the protagonist (me), Davidson’s support, and the fear factor of the unknown and unfamiliar. Interning at the Meridian International Center while being part of the Davidson in Washington program has fostered a seamless intersection of my interests in political science and Latin American studies. At Meridian, I am working for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), a White House Initiative established by President Obama in 2016. YLAI will bring 250 social and business entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to the U.S. in October for a four-week fellowship. During this time, the participants will be paired with a fellowship host from a U.S-based company with the goal of gaining valuable professional development skills to advance their own entrepreneurial ventures.

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An Inspiring Summer in the Big Apple

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Original post written by Boluwatife Odumosu ’17, participant in the DavidsonIE Internship Program.

If anyone told me three years ago that I would one day have the privilege of living and working in New York City, I would immediately have laughed at them. The reason being, before arriving at Davidson College, certain opportunities seemed more like fairy tales, or wishful thinking. Yet the past couple of years have been a massive testament of how my Davidson education has enlightened and exposed me to very remarkable experiences and learning opportunities that have, without a doubt, built the person I am today.

The Davidson IE internship opportunity with Exubrancy is yet another powerful contribution to my professional, intellectual and personal growth and development. The past few weeks have been a series of unexpected encounters, unfathomable challenges, inspirations and personal investment. At no other point in my life have I been more conscious of my future aspirations and of myself. This city does that to you. I believe with everyone so determined and hungry here, I definitely have felt more inspired to be a better ‘me’ this summer. To really explain what the summer has been like so far, I have decided to break down my reflection into two categories: experiences within the workplace, and those beyond the workplace.

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Trial by Fire

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Original post written by Molly Mathes ’17, participant in the DavidsonIE Internship Program.

Only two weeks of my internship had passed when I heard “trial by fire,” a phrase that I hadn’t realized I was missing until a prospective member jokingly described my job as such. I laughed it off but quickly realized how appropriately it described the way I was feeling early on. I’m now in my fourth week as the Community Ambassador for HQ Charlotte at Packard Place, a co-working facility and entrepreneurship hub at the heart of the quickly growing Charlotte start-up scene. Known as simply Packard Place when it was founded five years ago, Packard recently merged with HQ Community and joined several other HQ locations with the hope of becoming the premiere co-working network throughout the Southeast. The environment is fast-paced and full of new challenges each day, a feeling that straddles the line between energizing and overwhelming, especially during the first couple of weeks.

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A Chemistry Major Ready for Anything

Chem-Lab-1-702x336@2xOriginal story written by Adam Green ’17, participant in the DavidsonIE Internship Program.

My first month at MicroSio (which will undergo a name change soon) has been a really enjoyable learning experience. I’ve been tasked with everything from market research to designing experiments in the lab, and I’ve found my Davidson liberal arts education extremely helpful in preparing me for a Swiss Army knife-type of role within the company. At MicroSio, we make silicone microspheres for encapsulating active ingredients in cosmetic products in order to control their release onto the skin, and as I’ve become more comfortable with the preparation and properties of these microspheres, I’ve been allowed more freedom to experiment.

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What Does a Classics Major Know About Coding?

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Original post written by Amanda Lee ’17, participant in the DavidsonIE Internship Program.

My fall semester spent studying environmental policy in the EU opened my eyes to the intricacies and excitement of the energy industry. After one semester of readings and lectures, as well as a trip to the Paris Climate Summit, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to pursue an internship in the energy industry.

Great for me, right? I finally had an answer to the painful question, “What do you want to do after graduation?” The issue, however, was that I’m a classics major. I study Latin and Attic Greek; I read philosophy as homework; I perform poetry in Latin for tests. The energy industry, especially renewable energy, relies heavily on complex geographic information systems, data mapping, and countless hours of data manipulation and coding. I’m not even allowed to bring computers to some of my classes. I was overwhelmed with self-doubt as I filled out applications: Thoughts like, “This is a waste of time,” and “no one is going to take me seriously” stopped me mid-page in my cover letters. After all, what does a classics major know about geospatial coding?

 

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Wildcats in Washington: Where Passion Meets PR

Wildcats in Washington

Original story written by Victoria Frost ’18, participant in the Davidson in Washington program.

This summer, I am interning at PR Collaborative, a small “boutique” public relations firm in Washington, D.C., serving clients in both policy and film. As a policy intern, I mostly work with foundations and campaigns addressing public health issues.

Working for an alumna, Kate Reuterswärd ’09, has been such a privilege. She is the quintessential Davidson grad—a spectacular leader, an innovative visionary and a passionate hard worker. She pushes me to edit and acquire new skills in an environment of endless learning and creative thinking. For example, once a week we gather as a policy team to show each other a new skill, a useful tool or an interesting article…

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