“The internship was by far my favorite part. This is the part of my program that made me grow up.”
Emily spent a semester studying and interning with a non-profit agency in London. The Study and Internships in London program allowed her to gain professional experience while also taking courses, and she had the opportunity to explore London’s diverse community.
As a family social science major, Emily decided to complete internship requirements abroad. Her placement was at a non-profit family center outside of central London, working with homeless and refugee parents and children. With a small, close-knit staff, Emily learned about the social welfare system in the United Kingdom, and was able to coordinate English classes for parents and after school programs for children. "My internship was by far my favorite aspect of the trip," she said. "This is the part of my program that made me grow up."
After returning to the University of Minnesota, Emily found herself making more connections between her experience in London and her coursework in family social science. Working in London gave her skills in working with families from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. "It really taught me how to work with such diverse people. I see myself doing what I did in London, if not in the next year, then in the coming years. I can’t wait to apply it."
Like many study abroad students, Emily caught the "travel bug" from her journey to London. She didn’t leave London much, but she found that there were still opportunities to experience new cultures within the city. Travel was always on her mind in London. "Even if I wasn’t going, I was planning or thinking about traveling. I would go to the library or a bookstore, and I would just look at maps. Getting yourself out of the United States and being somewhere else where they see life differently, their maps look different, and their travel book libraries aren’t so focused on the US, you get such a different perspective." Looking back at her time in London, Emily felt that the challenge of being abroad was an important aspect of the experience. "I just think it’s so important to just throw yourself into a situation that you’re uncomfortable in, even if it’s your biggest fear, because that’s the only way that you’re going to learn what your strengths are."
Check out the Learning Abroad Center's Study and Internships in London program.