Student Testimonials: Reflections on an international internship
Name: Daniel Nierengarten, '09
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Duluth, MN
Position Title: Intern
Name of Company or Organization: Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD)
In two to three sentences, please describe what your internship entailed.
FSD placed me with the Kitenga Development Foundation, a small community development organization working in a rural community in Uganda 's Masaka District. Each intern is given a small $200 seed grant to use in some capacity building project within the organization and community. As an intern, I conducted a community-wide needs assessment, organized an after-school recreation program for children with disabilities, and hosted a community seminar on sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry.
Which country(ies) did your work take you to?
How did you find your internship?
Why did you choose to intern abroad instead of domestically?
This style of international internship matched well with my interests and future goals.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work and live internationally?
Conversations with other students that had traveled, worked, and lived internationally.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about interning internationally?
The brevity of the time.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
The inexplicable cross-cultural connection that I developed with the people with whom I was living and working.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
I have devoted much thought to the question of what it means to be a cosmopolitan, a citizen of the world. The lofty, theoretical political philosophy discussions, to my mind, overlook the natural simplicity of cosmopolitanism. I think the cosmopolitan is ultimately one who, having looked fellow citizens in the eye, has come to regard the peoples and cultures of the world as gloriously ordinary. Peoples are glorious for their beauty and uniqueness, and ordinary because, really, everyone else is beautiful and unique.
What advice would you offer other students interested in interning internationally?
Do not let the cost of the program be an automatic determinant. There are scholarships and fellowships available that pay for your expenses.Back to student bio page>>