A Reflection on My Remote Internship Experience in Colombia by Meher Khatwani (A’22)

by tuftsigl
Aug 10

This summer, I am doing a remote internship with the Universidad de los Andes (UniAndes) in Bogotá, Colombia. I am currently an intern with their Office for International Affairs, and I am working on various projects to enhance the university’s internationalization and expansion efforts. Their long-term goal is to open up their university to students around the world and to brand UniAndes as an internationally recognized institution. They hope to do so by creating more student exchange and inter-collegiate research opportunities. Therefore, the majority of my work consists of assisting with Spanish to English translation, researching external programs for summer research opportunities, and organizing legal agreements with partner institutions. This week, I am focusing on translating their student portal website and their registration tutorial videos to ensure that prospective international students have access to information and support on campus. In addition to this, this week I will also be adding to our database for schools that would be open to participating in the university’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program.

At first, when the Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) came out with their list of summer opportunities, I was hesitant to apply for a remote internship. However, through this experience I have realized that remote internships can be just as valuable as in-person internship experiences. Granted, if I did this internship in-person, I would be able to live and work in Colombia and immerse myself completely in the culture. But I have realized that this is still possible in a remote environment. Personally, I think that this internship has given me the opportunity to practice my Spanish in a professional setting. After graduating high school, I have not had the opportunity to practice a second foreign language, and I think that practicing a language in an academic context is very different from using it in a real-life situation. Therefore, this internship has allowed me to do so and speak with native speakers. Thankfully, my supervisors are extremely kind and support me in my goal to improve my Spanish and often encourage me to speak the language in our meetings. Working with UniAndes has definitely made me more comfortable to use Spanish in my future career.

In addition to this, my summer internship experience has given me the opportunity to refine my organization and communication skills which are especially important when working from home. The time difference between my home and the University does not allow for our schedules to line up as my evenings are early mornings in Bogota. However, I have learned to work around this and be more flexible with my working hours to ensure that I am available to complete tasks. For this reason, I have relied on my communication skills to ensure that I am in constant contact with the team and there are no misunderstandings. It helps that all of my supervisors are also working online as many of them are in lockdown, so at least we are all in it together!

Alumna Christine Gregory provided this remote internship.