Industry: International
Type of Internship: Development/Fundraising, Human Services/Social Work
Student Name: Sawyer Uecke
Graduation Year: 2021
Major: Peace and Justice Studies, Spanish
Minor: Astrophysics; Entrepreneurial Leadership
Position Title: Project Supervisor
Hours: 80 hours per week
Paid or Unpaid: Unpaid but receiving Career Center grant, full-time

What do you do as an intern at this organization?

As a Project Supervisor, I am assigned to four rural communities that I will be working in throughout the summer. The initial task is to go on Community Survey, an overnight visit to each community to ensure safety protocol, meet with community leaders, develop a comprehensive Community Profile outlining the program for the summer, and train host families that will take in participants. With my fellow team of supervisors, we run a training with all of the participants from the United States, whom afterwards will be living in each of our communities. While these participants are in community, I go on "route" where I spend a night in each community, checking in on the participants' health and safety and their project progress. This time is also spent with other members of the community, for example, visiting the host families for a check-in or recruiting youth for an additional component of our project: week-long camps in a national park. After two weeks on "route" we leave to go to the national park, where my role is to facilitate the intercultural exchange between youth from the U.S. and Costa Rica through fun activities and leadership development strategies. At the end of the project, we hold a final debriefing which offers the participants a chance to reflect on their experiences and fortify the bonds that they have created over their time in country.

How did you find this internship?

Due to my previous experience with the Tufts 1+4 program, I was recommended by my AMIGOS supervisor to be a Project Supervisor over the summer.

What do you enjoy most about your internship?

The time I'm able to spend in the communities I'm working with is by far the most exciting part of my internship. The community members are so hospitable and friendly that I feel as though they are an extension of my family. It is also very rewarding to be able to see the progress of the participants that I'm responsible for while they are working in their communities. There is never a dull moment, as I am able to simultaneously be a role model and teach others while also learning much more about myself and the people around me.

What do you find challenging?

Learning how to work with a team and respecting everyone's working style is definitely a challenging part of this internship. Each team member has a different background and we have to all work together to complement one another's strengths and weaknesses. We also have to have clear communication among our team at AMIGOS as well as the other NGO we are working alongside, Casa de la Juventud. Team members have their own individual tasks that fit into a large spectrum of project logistics that greatly affect one another. We have to navigate all of this as a team in addition to completing the individual work.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?

To make the most of this internship, it is imperative to go in with an open mind and the desire to learn. A lot of responsibility is given to a Project Supervisor, but don't forget that you are also doing this job for yourself and that it's okay to have some fun along the way. Because a Project Supervisor is on call nearly 24/7 and works very long days, pay attention to self-care. It's okay to spend some time on the weekends treating yourself to a smoothie or having some along time. There are many projects offered by AMIGOS, from being a participant to being a Project Director in many different countries. Check the website to see the multiple programs, dates, and deadlines. Also feel free to contact me with any questions.

About the Organization

Amigos de las Americas
Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica

AMIGOS is a leader in international youth development, creating a world in which young people realize their full potential as leaders and global citizens. We provide extraordinary opportunities for youth to design and lead projects in collaboration with US and Latin American peers and partner organizations across the Americas. Our strong partner network, built over 50 years, enables authentic engagements in communities across the region. Since its start, AMIGOS has operated continuously in various countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Currently, AMIGOS works in nine countries in Latin America (Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and the US running youth leadership programs. AMIGOS always works through partnerships with local organizations and with members of host communities in Latin America, with projects led by young people.