ECSFs Present Talk, Exhibit on Internship Experiences
December 11, 2007
In addition, the students presented a special exhibit with maps, suitcases, and artifacts of their journeys and debuted a publication chronicling their experiences called Translations: Six Stories of (Mis)Understanding.
During the presentations, students discussed common issues that arose from their internships, despite the varied places they traveled and organizations for which they worked. Many spoke about reconciling their status as privileged outsiders while working to effect change in developing areas. The presenters addressed the limits of altruism and how resources—or the lack of them—influence the efficacy of an organization. Moinester told of arriving in a Rwandan village to help administer a program that granted school fees to needy children. The funding would only reach half the children who greeted her. "It made me grapple with the nature of humanitarian aid work," she said.
Students also spoke on the issue of race and how their skin color and nationality affected people's perception of them. Koosed, who worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, noted: "Going to a place like this is a process of becoming a minority." De Jesus spoke of the lack of minority representation at a summer camp for disabled children where he worked as a counselor. Minority campers bonded with him more than his white counterparts because he is a member of a minority group, he said.
More details of the students fellows' experiences may be found in Translations: Six Stories of (Mis)Understanding, which can be downloaded by clicking the cover below. For more information about the Ethics Center Student Fellowship program, click here.