Introduction & Program Background

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog and for taking the time to read about my experience. As an International Studies major at UW-Madison, I will be participating in the Wisconsin in Washington D.C. Program in Fall 2019. As a participant in this program, I will intern for approximately 30 hours a week, while taking 3 classes as well. I jumped at the opportunity to participate in this program because I am a huge fan of ‘real world’ experiences. While I like being in school and being a student, I’ve realized  that my most meaningful and impactful learning opportunities have come from places outside the classroom. I’ve moved frequently since graduating high school: I spent 7 months living in Ecuador from 2015- 2016. I then began college at the UW-Milwaukee, where I participated in a semester long study abroad program in Querétaro, Mexico in Spring 2018. I then transferred to UW-Madison in Fall 2018, and after staying put for two whole semesters on campus at UW-Madison, the urge for change once again surfaced and I applied to the Wisconsin in Washington D.C. Program.

My summer has flown by and has been one of the busiest summers I’ve had in my life. Between applying for internships, taking a summer class, and working at WI 4-H International Programs, I have stayed busy. While I’m more or less “ready” to go to D.C., I’m wishing I had just a couple more weeks in Madison to enjoy summer before beginning what I imagine will be a busy semester, between professional and academic responsibilities.

In anticipation of the Wisconsin in Washington D.C. Program, I spent this summer applying for internships in D.C. Applying to internships was a long and (to be completely transparent) stressful process for me. I often felt like I was applying to organizations where I had no idea what kind of an applicant I was…was I completely under-qualified…over-qualified…not in the right field of study at all for this internship? I applied to 8 internship positions throughout the summer, and by mid July I had only heard back from one organization. I took this as a signal of the fierce competition of securing an internship position in D.C. However, beginning in July and going well into August, one by one, I eventually heard back and was offered an interview with each position I applied to. I was surprised by the delay in hearing back from organizations – the last organization wanted to complete a phone interview on August 15th for a position starting September 1st.

Fortunately, by late July, I accepted an internship position with CAIR – Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Group. As an intern with CAIR, I will work with the Detained Unaccompanied Children’s Program.

Here is a little blurb about the Detained Unaccompanied Children’s Program: “the services CAIR Coalition provides to unaccompanied minors include “Know Your Rights” presentations, individual consultations, and accompanying children to their first immigration court hearing. We also provide direct representation in removal proceedings to children seeking repatriation, children reunifying from ORR programs in Virginia and Maryland with family members in DC, Maryland and Virginia, and children facing prolonged detention.” (From https://www.caircoalition.org/job/social-services-coordination-internship-fall-2019spring-2020 if you wish to read more about the internship and CAIR).

I am looking forward  to interning with CAIR,  learning more about immigration policy, and having a chance to practice and improve my Spanish. I am also really nervous–the internship will be emotionally challenging, as I will be working with migrant children facing extremely difficult and traumatic circumstances. In that vein, I hope that I am able to help meet some of the needs of those we serve, while taking care of my emotional & mental health too. I have a lot to learn and am trying to read and research topics related to my internship before beginning. Please check back frequently for updates about my internship and life in D.C. this semester!