Describe some of the steps you took to obtain your internship.
I had just changed my major to international affairs from biochemistry, so I didn’t feel like I was fully prepared, but I was really determined to get an internship. I became interested in the field of refugees and immigrants because I joined the organization on campus called A.I.R.R. (Advocates for Immigrant and Refugee Rights). Joining this organization led to an interest in human rights, so I knew that I wanted to try to find an internship in that field. I went to The Career Center to get help with my resume and cover letter. Then, I searched for paid internships throughout the country, but especially in Washington D.C.
If you used any Career Center services or events to obtain the internship, what were they? How did these help you in landing the internship?
I went to The Career Center and received help with my resume and cover letter, and they also directed me to websites that could give me assistance with finding internships. The Career Center helped me because they prepared me to look professional and feel confident in my skills and knowledge, as well as what I could contribute to the organization that I applied to.
Describe some of your responsibilities or duties during the internship experience.
At the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, I collaborated with an intern team to assist the Immigrant Children’s Legal Program staff attorney in the completion of projects related to supporting undocumented immigrant children who are in removal proceedings. I also conducted telephonic intake interviews in Spanish with unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or gender-based violence. In addition, I oriented children and their sponsors to the immigration court process and coordinated with case managers in partner organizations to facilitate the services given to unaccompanied minors.
What was a typical day like?
I lived in Bethesda, MD for the summer, but my internship was in Arlington, VA, so I commuted from the bus to the metro station to get to Crystal City in Arlington. During the day when I was working, I was doing all of the tasks outlined above. The interns in my program, including myself, got to go on several trips down to the D.C. District Court and the Arlington immigration court to obverse court cases in a real setting.
What are some major takeaways from your experience? How will these help prepare you for the next step after graduation?
One of the most practical takeaways that I got from my internship is the importance of getting along with your co-workers, especially if you are on a team that fully relies on all its parts in order to work. My fellow interns and I got along really well and we quickly became friends, which made coming to work enjoyable and productive since we all communicated and worked together well. Another takeaway that I got was, to ask for help from your supervisors or find a person in the office who is more experienced and is willing to mentor you. Having those connections in the office and that support can truly help to make the most out of the experience. I also got the takeaway that you should live and work in a place that you truly love, support, and believe in. I loved the organization that I worked with and I truly enjoyed living in Washington D.C. for the summer.
Did this experience help clarify your career path? How so?
Interning in the Immigrant Children’s Legal Program helped me to see that I want to go to law school and focus on international law, which is a broad field of work with lots of opportunities, especially in Washington, D.C. This experience definitely reinforced the fact that I want to live and work in Washington, D.C. I hope to be able to work for a non-profit or think-tank, and to help to influence public policy. I loved working at U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and seeing how present and important the organization is on Capitol Hill in terms of influencing public policy, support, and awareness.
Juana Delgados Hoyos
“I went to The Career Center to get help on my resume, which helped build the strength of my resume. My resume gained organization and professionalism.”
Major: International Affairs, Class of 2017
Internship Experience: Immigrant Children’s Legal Program, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Summer 2016