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International Internships

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    Dempsey Jones, a junior communication studies major, has her own radio show in London this semester.

Eight Southwestern students are interning while in London this semester 

Eight Southwestern students are getting work experience in an unusual place this semester – London.

The eight − Isaac Bernal, Sarah Chatfield, Dempsey Jones, Jennifer Juergens, Veronica Luna, Marlena Serrano, Kamna Tripathi and Lizette Villarreal − are all doing internships while participating in Southwestern’s London Semester program.

Jones, a junior communication studies major, is preparing for a future career in the radio business by interning at three different radio stations − Betar Bangla, a London-based Bangladeshi radio station; House Dem, an online station; and Guess Radio, another online station. She even has her own show on Guess Radio, which she calls “Dubstep Y’all.” The show airs every Wednesday from about 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in London (5:30-7:30 a.m. CST). Jones  prepares for the show each week by selecting a playlist and researching artists and concerts. She even creates and records her own jingles.

“I love my show with all of my heart,” Jones said. “I’ve been very blessed to be given such an opportunity.”

Jones said her internship has taken her to parts of London that no other students have had the opportunity to see – or even know about. “I work right next to the Olympic stadium that is under construction for next year, and I think it is awesome that I get to see that each week,” she said.

Jones said having her internship not only helps her gain experience, but helps her help others as well. She currently is using her radio and networking skills to promote an organization called “Dubstep Cures Cancer,” which uses music to fund cancer outreach and research.

Kamna Tripathi, a junior communication studies major, said her London internship has been fulfilling as well. Tripathi is interning with Action for Advocacy, an organization based in England and Wales that is dedicated to social justice. “I think I’ve really lucked out with this internship,” Tripathi said. “It’s a match made in heaven.”

Maria Kruger, the internship coordinator for Career Services, said this is the largest number of Southwestern students who have ever interned during a semester in London. “The number has been steadily climbing,” she said.

Kruger said the internships are arranged for the students by the Centers for Academic Programs Abroad (CAPA), the same vendor that operates the London Semester program. Students can express an interest in internships after they are accepted into the London program and then CAPA arranges several interviews for them when they get to London.

David Olson, internship coordinator for Communication Studies, said that while it can be difficult to fit in an internship along with classes and cultural experiences in a new city, it is worthwhile because it gives students an added perspective they might not get as interns in the United States.

“One of the great things about working in London is that students have an extra layer of complexity to think about as they observe not only their assigned corporate culture and the clients of their organization, but that they must observe it through the window of British culture,” Olson said. “British formality and reserve in a business setting can come across as stiff and cold to Texans used to ‘Texas friendly’ in public contacts. The goal is for the intern to see the workplace as not only a job but as a classroom.”

This is what has happened for Lizette Villarreal, a junior communication studies major who is working as a marketing intern with INTO Higher, a network of university-based study centers where international students come to develop their English and other skills before moving on to partner universities throughout the United Kingdom, United States, and China. 

“Interning in London had already opened my eyes to working within a different social code, but working with students from all over the world has greatly enhanced this truly multicultural experience. “Since I am also an international student in London, I have been able to bond with many students in the center over our common encounters with British customs and lifestyle. I always knew London was a metropolitan city, but I never imagined that on a daily basis I would be working with people from China, Russia, the Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and the various other 300 nationalities that are in the center on a daily basis. This internship experience is constantly showing me how interconnected the world is, and how all it takes is a little bit of patience, understanding, and a lot of improvisation to form successful relationships with other cultures.” 

Junior communication studies major Isaac Bernal, who is interning with the Terrence Higgins Trust, said his job has helped him learn more both about the corporate world and the non-profit world. The Terrence Higgins Trust is the largest HIV and sexual health charity in the United Kingdom and Bernal is interning with the organization’s corporate fundraising team and press team. His job involves researching new businesses to approach for donations or possible partnerships, reviewing applications for major grants and working on corporate newsletters. He’s also had the opportunity to volunteer at one of their bigger events. “I think it has been extremely valuable in giving me some real-world experience within a work place, as well as a unique twist  by virtue of being a charity and the work the charity does,” Bernal said.

Other students interning in London this semester include senior psychology major Sarah Chatfield, who is interning with Phoenix Futures, a leading provider of services for people with drug and alcohol problems; junior history major Jennifer Juergens, who is interning with Shelter England, a housing and homelessness charity; junior communication studies major Veronica Luna, who is interning with Youth Net, an online charity that provides information and support to people between the ages of 16 and 25; and junior communication studies major Marlena Serrano, who is interning with the Royal Aeronautic Society.

−Jasmine SayGan and Ellen Davis