The Insights newsletter highlights innovative programing with ACCENT. Our November 2014 issue focused on recent programs and student experiences in London and Rome. The excerpts from Insights below are a part of the newsletter’s focus on student internships abroad. The next Insights newsletter will be available in May 2015 and will highlight custom programming across all six ACCENT cities. For more Insights, visit our newsletter archives at: www.accentintl.com/program-development
The Cherie Blair Foundation
Andrea Gonzalez is no stranger to hard work, having held various jobs to support herself and her family throughout high school and college. However, before her internship in London she had never worked directly in her academic field. She was particularly aware of that gap in her resume before studying abroad, since the quarter in London would be her last at UC Riverside before graduation.
Andrea interned fulltime for six weeks at the Cherie Blair Foundation. The internship under the mentorship of communication director Jillian Convey was an ideal marriage of Andrea’s English major and Women’s Studies minor, her true passion. “It was amazing to see it all come together in such a neat package,” reflects Andrea, noting that her peers had the same feeling: “We were all over London doing very different things, but everyone felt so rightly placed and came home each day with a story.”
The Foundation operates mentorship programs for female entrepreneurs in developing and emerging countries across the globe. Andrea worked in communication, writing copy for web and print, and speechwriting in preparation for Cherie Blair’s speech at the Cambridge Wireless Conference in late June, where she highlighted the importance of wireless technology in empowering women around the world.
“Jillian was a great teacher and mentor, giving valuable feedback on my writing to ensure that we were heard and that the message was clear and concise,” said Andrea. “Everyone was very supportive of each other. The different program leaders were always willing to answer questions or have a tea.”
Andrea is still in touch with her mentor and others from the Cherie Blair Foundation. She recently accepted a position as an Autism Behavioral Therapist in California, but hopes to prepare for the GRE and apply for a graduate degree in Gender Studies in the UK.
Cherie Blair colleagues share their thanks with Andrea for her hard work during the internship.
Movimento Cinque Stelle
Miranda Slaght was surprised to find her hand raised to correct her political science professor after only a few weeks in Rome. He had made, in her opinion, a generalization about Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5), Italy’s radically new political movement. Taken aback, the professor asked Miranda where she got her information. “I work for them,” she said.
Today, Miranda is a senior at the University of Minnesota, finishing a degree in History and Political Science and preparing for the LSAT. Last spring, she was M5’s first non- Italian student intern, writing English language copy for the party’s website and social media channels.
On her first day, after observing a live debate at the Italian Senate, Miranda’s internship mentor Alessandro Canali walked her to the M5 headquarters and asked her to write an article introducing the movement to an English-speaking audience. “I thought to myself, ‘I have no idea.’ I’m a History major, so I write a lot of papers, but my first article at M5 made me realize exactly how little I knew about the movement.
Though overwhelming, that article was the perfect first assignment, serving as a crash course on M5 and introducing Miranda to the entire team. “I went from office to office asking people questions about the movement and their roles.” She remembers Canali’s comment after reading the first draft: “You left out a lot.”
And while she admits that Italy seems like less of a “perfect paradise” after working inside the political system, she is glad for the experience: “It was eye-opening to learn about Italy’s problems and political issues. The internship helped me understand Italy and Italians much more than my peers.”
Miranda plans to write about the experience in her law school essay: “With so many people studying abroad, if you don’t have skills to show from it, it is not worthwhile.”