Botswana

Interning at ChildFund

by Mark Robinson, Communications Intern

I came to ChildFund unsure of what to expect from my first internship. We’ve all heard horror stories of interns who spent their summer filing papers and picking up packages. I didn’t want the best professional relationship I forged to be with the baristas at the nearest Starbucks. I wanted to get outside of my comfort zone. I wanted a chance to grow.

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At ChildFund, I felt like more than just “the intern.”

I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to come to work for 10 weeks as a respected member of the ChildFund communications team. Every project I’ve worked on has been purposeful. And aside from a now infamous assignment my mentor Cynthia Price gave me, I have been spared from doing too many “interny” tasks.

From day one, my mentors, Community Manager Virginia Sowers and Director of Communications Cynthia Price, took my goals into consideration and tailored my assignments to help me accomplish them. Because of their flexibility, I was able to focus on improving my multimedia skills. I researched podcasts and edited raw footage from Uganda into a video that was featured on ChildFund’s blog, Facebook and Twitter pages. My work has been showcased, not hidden away. But with all that said, I doubt when I look back at ChildFund that I’ll remember the work.

I’ll remember poking my head over ChildFund writer Christine Ennulat’s cubicle to chat about my most recent journalistic pursuits.

I’ll remember the shock I felt when I learned KISS front man Gene Simmons sponsors more than 140 children through ChildFund and the subsequent buzz around the communications pod after the episode of his reality show filmed in Zambia debuted.

I’ll remember the disbelief I felt when I found out my colleague and longtime ChildFund employee Alison Abbitt passed away following reconstructive knee surgery. We had spoken only days before.

While the extremes stand out, the small lessons I’ve learned here will not be forgotten and this, my first formal foray into the professional world, has prepared me in some ways for my next adventure: Botswana.

My next four and a half months will be spent studying journalism at the University of Botswana in Gaborone. It’ll be my first trip abroad, so my feelings about it fluctuate between giddy excitement and crippling nervousness on a day-to-day basis. I do now, however, have the comfort of knowing that a network of sympathetic world travelers is only an email away.

While I’m in Africa, I plan to freelance in pursuit of my career as a foreign correspondent. Who knows? Maybe one of my stories will find its way into ChildWorld.

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