Summer Internships: Kavya Weaver '24
Name: Kavya Weaver
Class Year: 2024
Major: International Studies
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Internship Organization: Nationalities Service Center
Job Title: ESL Intern
Location: Philadelphia, PA
What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
Since the beginning of June, I have been working with the ESL program at the Nationalities Service Center (NSC) in Philadelphia. NSC is the largest and most comprehensive provider of services for immigrants and refugees in the greater Philadelphia area. The organization offers a wide range of English classes, provides legal representation, equips clients for employment, and helps newly arrived refugees with navigating community integration and cultural transition. Presently, NSC serves 5,000 refugees and immigrants each year from over 100 countries around the world.
I have been specifically working with NSC’s Employment Readiness and Placement Program. My role as an intern has been to oversee referrals to external ESL programs for clients whose schedules cannot accommodate NSC’s English classes. This job entails calling clients to refer them to ESL classes throughout Philadelphia, helping them register and enroll, and checking in with them to make sure that their needs are being met. I also have been serving as an ESL teacher, so helping structure the curriculum and teaching classes both in-person and over Zoom has been a major part of my work this summer.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I found NSC when I was searching for internship opportunities in Philadelphia, and I was immediately compelled by the mission and values of the organization. Helping to provide social services to refugees represents a tangible and impactful way that I can contribute to efforts to make the U.S. a more hospitable and welcoming place, especially in an era in which nativism and xenophobia plague the country. I felt drawn to this work as someone who has immigrant family members and as an international studies major – the political and economic forces that shape global migration are an important focus of both my studies and the work I’m doing for my internship.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of this internship has been teaching English classes. Despite the language barrier, I have been able to connect to my students on a personal level, and I always look forward to helping them practice their English conversation skills and hearing about their lives. Speaking English is such a crucial skill for someone new to this country, and I am grateful to be able to assist in my students’ learning journeys. I have also learned so much from the students I work with –they’ve told me about some of the biggest challenges they’ve faced regarding culture shock and the struggle to start over in a new country and build a sustainable life for themselves and their families. Having the ability to engage with a population that I otherwise would not have access to has been very formative and has made me feel much more in touch with what it means to truly contribute to making Philadelphia a stronger city. Although teaching can be challenging, I have been lucky to have the opportunity to do such rewarding work.
Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?
Inspiring, rewarding, meaningful
Challenge, connection, growth
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.