Summer Internships: Charlotte Yuan '24
Name: Charlotte Yuan
Class Year: 2024
Major: International Studies and Sociology
Hometown: Mianyang, China
Internship Organization: Nationalities Service Center
Job Title: Education Intern
Location: Philadelphia, PA
What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
I am working with the education department at the Nationalities Service Center (NSC). We provide adult ESL classes at all levels to immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia. Before our summer classes started, I have been doing marketing and administrative work to promote our English classes, including making flyers in different languages, putting up posters in community centers in Philadelphia, and helping with placement tests. Also, to learn more about ESL classes and the clients we are serving, I am taking trauma-informed classes and workshops hosted by the Office of Children and Families Adult Education. In addition to working with the education department, I am also helping the Family Literacy Program with events and lesson plans. Since our summer classes started, my main responsibility has been making sure the classes run smoothly and supporting the volunteer teachers.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I am participating in Bryn Mawr’s Civic Engagement Summer of Service program, and I have to intern for a service organization in the Philadelphia region. Also, because of my major, I have always been interested in learning more about non-profits, so this internship is a great opportunity to explore an organization and start considering my future career path. I chose NSC because it is a big organization that has many departments. During my interview, although I am applying as an education intern, my supervisor told me that she would be happy to tell me more about other departments when I expressed my interest, especially since she has worked with the resettlement department before.
Working remotely for the first time? What has that experience been like for you?
My internship is hybrid. I go to the office three days a week and I work remotely for the other two days. There are pros and cons to both of them, but I personally think that in-person experiences are better. Working at home is relaxing; I don’t need to get up early and take the train, especially since it takes an hour to get to the office. I usually meet with my supervisor first thing in the morning and spend the rest of the day working on the things she assigned to me. It is convenient to ask her questions and communicate with other staff on Microsoft Teams. However, I think there are more benefits when I work in the office. I chat with my supervisor more and there are opportunities to connect with other staff and interns during the lunch break. I think it’s easier to network and establish deeper connections in-person.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?
One of my internship's biggest challenges is the language barrier when communicating with clients. We have a diverse client population who speak many different languages, such as Ukrainian, French, and Dari. One time I had a student come in for her placement test and she did not speak much English. I was happy that I could talk to her in Spanish and get to know her a little bit. However, I have encountered more situations where I do not speak my clients’ languages, so I had to wait for other staff to come in to help them. Our staff is busy so clients have to sit outside for a long time until they have time to meet them. I realized how important languages are for communication and I wish I could be more helpful to them.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.