A New Confidence Discovered Interning at REI

Interning at Refugees Empowerment International gave me a new kind of confidence that I had never discovered before about myself. Prior to interning at REI, I was a very quiet student during my lectures at university. Being an International Relations major, debates and public speaking were a common occurrence, but I never really spoke up about my opinions or asked questions unless I was required to. If I did have a question or wanted to make a comment, I would get really anxious thinking if the question was relatable to the topic or if it was just common knowledge that would make me seem unintelligent just by asking. And this is how I felt when I first started the internship. During our meetings, other interns would often show their work and ask for feedback, which I almost never joined in. I was also afraid to show my work to anyone because I was afraid it was not good enough, or that the other interns or my supervisor would be disappointed. However, I should also note that this was my first internship, so I had no real experience in receiving and giving constructive criticism.

            As time went on and I continued to work with other interns, I got more comfortable speaking my mind. Instead of getting mad at myself when interns suggested a change in my work, I started to appreciate and accept their suggestions. Because of this, I became much more confident in myself. I also began to give feedback to others without being afraid that I was belittling their work. I began to speak more during our weekly internship meetings, which created good and interesting discussions. This newly found confidence made it so much easier working and communicating with others, and the best versions of my tasks came out during this internship.

            I also brought this new confidence along with me in my lectures, too. By the end of the semester, I was no longer the quiet student that rarely participated unless required. I began to ask questions and make comments without hesitating or breaking a sweat. I remember feeling proud of myself when I actually challenged another student’s argument, because I would have never done that if I had never taken this internship.

            That is only one out of the many things that REI has taught me, and I am glad that what I learned during the 4 months interning here I can use not only in academics and my future career, but in my everyday life, too.