International Internship Opens Eyes to the Real World

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Like many students, sophomore Maggie Crawford ’16 planned an internship as part of her college experience. Unlike most others, her internship was also an international adventure—in India.

India_2Maggie, who is studying international marketing, an individually planned major, worked as a structural advisor for the Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency (MYRADA). In her role, she was responsible for counseling on operations and organizational improvements in MYRADA’s programs that benefit disadvantaged populations.

Maggie found this opportunity through Oglethorpe’s Atlanta Laboratory for Learning (A_LAB), which helps students to put their classroom learning into practice by combining “real world” experiences in professional development, global education, civic engagement, and/or undergraduate research.

India_4Internships abroad can be very different from those in the U.S., which Maggie found out firsthand. “You get to find out what it is like to work somewhere else and learn about the culture of their work,” she says. “By combining travel abroad and internships, you just get a better sense of why you’re there.”

Maggie also faced challenges in acclimating to a different culture. “First, there was the language barrier,” she says. “When I went, I learned a couple of words in Hindi, but I learned that they actually speak something called Kannada. So, it wasn’t actually helpful at all. And, they’d never seen an American where I went, so they were always looking at me.”

India_1Maggie now uses her international internship experience to inform her contributions to classroom discussions. “It has shown me different perspectives,” she says. “We were studying the temples in India in ‘Art & Culture.’ I actually got to see those, firsthand.” Overall, she says her global experience “has made me more aware of the people around me.”

Next on the Maggie’s itinerary is China, where she hopes to add to her repertoire of real world professional experiences around the world.

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