I’m Sera Maraka from Bethlehem University in Palestine. I’m a senior, majoring in accounting and minoring in business administration, and this summer I’m interning at Christian Brothers Conference in Washington D.C. for five weeks through the Sir John McGuckin Mentoring and Internship Program.
As part of the Student Ambassadors program at Bethlehem University, seven other students and I are interning in the United States this summer at different Catholic institutions, churches and organizations, such as Georgetown University, EWTN, the Archdiocese for the Military Services and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
My internship at Christian Brothers Conference is divided into four phases. First, help the staff of Lasallian Volunteers prepare for their summer program for volunteers. Second, assist with event planning and organizing for formation programs. Thirdly, work with the communications department to enhance my design and writing skills. Finally, helping with some basic accounting entries and journaling, and as well as gaining some practices and knowledge in the human recourses field. This internship will give me a broad experience of not-for-profit work and help me learn more about the Lasallian mission.
The purpose of this internship program is to provide me with opportunities to gain valuable work skills and experience a different culture in an American setting, while also giving me a chance to give back to both Bethlehem University and my society by sharing my experience and knowledge with my classmates and friends. As my colleague in this internship program has described it, “This opportunity, so far, is my new step in improving and challenging myself to become a better version of who I know I could be.” Moreover, it will help prepare me for an international and globalized marketplace. Finally, this will highly improve my CV to find better jobs in such competitive environment.
On a personal note, I’m so thrilled for participating in this life-changing step. One of the most important aspects of this opportunity is growth, both mentally and professionally. This experience is a real work environment, getting a taste of the American work ethic and culture. I am so glad to be working for a Lasallian organization, whose mission I identify with. I’m so excited to bring these values and experiences back home to Palestine.
The U.S. is on the other side of the globe from Palestine, which makes everything exciting and different for me and the rest of the interns, from the language to the toppings people add on their pizzas. In conclusion, this will shape us to be more globally experienced and aware, liberal and ready to bring a better future to our university and society.
Bethlehem University established the Sir John McGuckin Mentoring and Internship Program in 2010 to allow some of its top students to gain career-focused and cultural experiences through summer internships in the United States and elsewhere. It also gives these students a platform to share their voices and their stories, and to share the positive role of Bethlehem University in their lives. Christian Brothers Conference has hosted an intern from Bethlehem for three consecutive summers.
Photos courtesy Bethlehem University Foundation