Summer is a critical time to engage in ongoing learning, enrichment, and skill-building. Here’s a compilation by Franklin Junior, Margaret Pendo, of what summer internships taught some of her classmates about new cultures, their career path, and life. How they’ve grown, met life-long friends, and much more.

Andrea Briscoe, Philadelphia, PA (USA)
Major: History
Minors: International Relations and Postcolonial Studies

Where did you work this summer and what was your job position?
Communications joint Intern at National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) and Society Hill Synagogue.

Do you feel like your work experience gave you insight on your future career path?
Being a History major I am constantly being asked “what on earth are you going to do with a history degree?” This summer, I was able to be exposed to public history, a field of work that would allow me to directly use my history education in the workforce. Because of this work experience, I am now hoping to pursue a career in history education.

How did your experience at Franklin help you adapt to your work experience?
Franklin’s history program has an emphasis on research and writing, and this was integral for me to be an effective and efficient intern. Many of the other interns did not have the same skill level in research and writing which set me apart from the rest of my intern cohort and allowed me to take on interesting additional projects.

What was the biggest personal take away from your summer?
Making and maintaining professional connections are incredibly important. I was amazed everyday how my supervisor seemed to know everyone in both the jewish and arts/culture community of Philadelphia, and he told me that the key to nonprofit work is a rich and diverse professional network. As an introverted person, I was nervous to go up and introduce myself to people I was exposed to over the course of my internship, but I left my comfort zone and took this advice seriously. Throughout the summer I was able to make some incredible connections that may help me get a job in the future.

What was your typical day on the job?
I worked part time at NMAJH and part time at the synagogue. When I was at the museum I was either attending seminars in museum operations or working with other interns to curate an exhibition. While at the synagogue I was maintaining their social media, revitalizing their website, and curating virtual exhibition for the congregation’s 200th anniversary.

Do you feel being in such an international community at Franklin helped you in your job? How?
Since I was interning in a synagogue and Jewish history museum (and I am not Jewish) I was surrounded by a cultural community that I am not a part of. My experience at Franklin equipped me to more easily maneuver the intercultural and interfaith work environment that I was engrossed in. Thanks to Franklin, I was able to get the most out of my culturally immersive experience.

What did you learn at your job that you hope to bring back to the Franklin community?
I was really passionate about helping the synagogue celebrate its long and rich history. I proposed an idea about how to do this, and it ended up being one of the best things that I go to do this summer. I hope to bring this passion and initiative back to the Franklin community.

What advice would you give to students who are looking for a summer job based on your experience?
Apply for any internship that you find and are interested in! I never thought that I would be hired at such a prestigious museum, but I was hired and because I put myself out there, I was able to have an amazing experience.

 

Simon Bruns, Bad Zwischenahn, Lower Saxony (Germany)
Major: History and Economics with an emphasis in Political Economy
Minor: Political Science

Where did you work this summer and what was your job position?
I did an internship at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s (KAS) office in Abuja, Nigeria for six weeks. KAS is a German political foundation that is associated with Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and is active in over one hundred different countries. I worked there as a project assistant to the security sector reform program. I had two major tasks over the duration of my time there. The first was to write a country profile for Nigeria in German and English which could be displayed on the office website. The second was assisting in the planning and execution of an international conference on the tackling of security challenges in West Africa.

Do you feel like your work experience gave you insight on your future career path?
It gave me an insight into the diverse workings and functions of one of the largest political foundations in Germany and the potential career opportunities within these. My function in the security sector reform program and conversations with relevant resource persons, increased my interest in the diverse field of global security, which could be a potential career option for me.

How did your experience at Franklin help you adapt to your work experience?
The courses that I have taken so far at Franklin allowed me to better understand what the development imperatives were in Nigeria and how to assess the political situation there. This was facilitated by diverse courses in History, Economics, and Politics. I also worked with various staff members on improving and formatting my resume before I sent off my application.

What was the biggest personal takeaway from your summer?
What I valued the most was that I learned so much about a new country. While researching for the country profile I was able to find out what challenges Nigeria faces on all fronts. I also had the opportunity to travel a bit in the country as a result of diverse KAS workshops in other cities. I also valued that the large majority of the team was composed of local staff, which allowed me to apply my intercultural competencies and to actively learn more about customs and culture in Nigeria.

What was your typical day on the job?
I would start work at 9.00 and usually end at 17.00, but sometimes later or earlier depending on the workload. During the planning for the conference for example there were times where I would have to stay longer as there was more work to do. Typically I would wait to receive instructions on task prioritization for the day, and I would begin to work those down based on urgency. If I had time left over I dedicated it to researching for the country profile, which was more of a long term project that complemented my other work.

Do you feel being in such an international community at Franklin helped you in your job? How?
Franklin’s international community allowed to me to further develop my intercultural competencies. This was essential for this job as it allowed me to adapt quicker to a different working culture and environment.

What did you learn at your job that you hope to bring back to the Franklin community?
I hope to bring back experiences to people who are looking to work in various sectors in developing countries.

What advice would you give to students who are looking for a summer job based on your experience?
Start as early as possible and do not wait until your junior year to begin looking for opportunities. Of course the opportunities are more limited as an undergraduate, but they are still there. It is useful to graduate with some kind of real world experience.

 

Marième Cissé, Neuchâtel (Switzerland) and Senegal
Major: Communications and International Relations

Where did you work this summer and what was your job position?
I worked as counselor at a Summer camp with the OSA- the Organization of Swiss people Abroad. Basically it is a camp with kids between 15-18 years old who are Swiss but live abroad (for example, your mom is Swiss but you live in Mexico because your dad works there). The objective is for them to spend some time in their country, know more about the culture, visit different places, get to know other Swiss people, do sports and hike, become a little bit more aware of a part of their identity that they do not necessarily get to experience on an everyday basis.

Do you feel like your work experience gave you insight on your future career path?
Actually, since I enjoyed it a lot, I now know that I would like to keep working with teenagers and young people- but not as a teacher. It also showed me how patient one must be to work with them, though. On the other hand, it was great for me to work with the team of counselors, learning how to communicate better, how to work together, how to solve problems using every individual's skills and insights. So for that, I also learnt what the benefits of teamwork and cooperation could bring, and that I like working with people. Overall, I guess it did not give me a specific idea of what I want to do next but it did give me good indications of environments that I would enjoy working in.

How did your experience at Franklin help you adapt to your work experience?
I really think it did because the participants are from all around the globe and for me to be used to living in a diverse, multicultural and multi-linguistic community really made it easier to adapt to the group. It was also interesting that it was easier for me to anticipate the needs of specific groups than some of my coworkers. Obviously, communicating with very different people was also a challenge that Franklin had previously prepared me for, so yes Franklin's community definitely taught me a lot. And the communication classes, and IR classes also gave me useful knowledge that has helped me interact with everyone with more ease.

What was the biggest personal takeaway from your summer?
I learned a lot about myself just being put in a position of responsibility everyday for two weeks, all day. I learned a lot about the way I can handle responsibility, and how I deal with problem solving. I think that overall, I am really happy with my experience and maybe the most important thing for me was realizing that I was able to have a (hopefully positive) impact on and help other young people, and that we really had a lot to learn from each other.

What was your typical day on the job?
Every day was different, really. But everyday we would wake up around 7h15, have breakfast, and have some kind of physical activity in the morning, whether it would be a sports tournament, a hike or play a game in the forest. After lunch, depending on the morning activity, we would either organize some kind of cultural activity, have optional programs, let the participants have free time or go visit some city with them. And in the evening we would usually have a fun, entertaining program such as a casino night, a talent show, speed dating or any other fun activity. Around 23h, the participants would go to sleep and the counselor team would meet up to give feedback about the day and plan the next one. Definitely did not sleep much but it was a lot of fun overall.

What did you learn at your job that you hope to bring back to the Franklin community?
I think we really were able to develop a strong sense of community, in which everyone felt a part of a big family by including everyone and making sure that no one would feel left out. I made it my responsibility to make sure that no one felt excluded and was able to have fun participating so I guess that is something that is important to me coming back to Franklin. I want everyone, especially new students, to feel like they are welcome, they can find people who they can relate to and that no one is left out or excluded.

What advice would you give to students who are looking for a summer job based on your experience?
I think there is always a lot of emphasis put on finding a job or internship that will look impressive on a resume and be valuable working experience for a successful future career path. I strongly believe that it is not that important to have an impressive position at a well known international firm. I think that student should realize that what is key is that whatever you do, you do it with the intention to learn and develop new skills, which will be useful some day no matter what, regardless of if they have developed them working in a bank or cleaning bathroom. Also, we shall not forget that summer is also there to have fun and get some good distraction from the rest of the year. For me, the perfect summer job is a mixture of fun and learning!