As a part of the Dickinson-in-Moscow Program, students intern in organizations that match their intellectual and personal interests: NGOs, various museums, schools, and even embassies. Caroline Elkin’15 tells the story about how she ended up working at American Councils in Moscow.
At Dickinson I worked in the study abroad office, and so I had the idea to look for an internship with an organization involved in international education. After a friendly sit-down with the internet, I found an organization, American Councils for International Education, that seemed interesting. Irina Filippova, the Director of the Moscow program, helped me get in touch with them to schedule an interview.
American Councils, which is funded by the US Department of State, is actually really cool (in this link during the job fair, man on left is former US Sen. Bill Bradley; man on right is the director of American Councils). It oversees a lot of programs that those of you who study foreign languages have probably heard of, like the Critical Language Scholarship, US-Japan Youth Exchange, and the one I work with: Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX). FLEX offers scholarships for high school-aged students from “10 republics of the former Soviet Union” to travel to the US for a year, live with host families, study in an American high school, and so on. It was originally founded in 1992 to promote peace and understanding between the US and former Soviet countries.
So far, I really like the internship. Two days a week I go in and help out with whatever needs to be done. The most exciting ordinary task thus far has involved compiling all the FLEX alumni successes for the past few months into a quarterly report. It’s fantastic to see the variety of professional, academic, creative, and service-related accomplishments. When you consider that, since its inception, over 23,000 students have gone through this program…that’s a lot of alumni!
But the best part thus far has been the anniversary; this year is FLEX’s 20th birthday. Over the past month, I was involved in a lot of hectic event-planning, but it all paid off at the weekend-long celebration, which included a fancy reception at Spaso House (the US Ambassador’s residence) and a job fair and gala at Digital October, where I met a variety of Russians my age and professionals.