Regional Internship Explores International Relations

March 17 2017
Category: Academics

Photo of Vanessa Bauch with young student

This week’s #SoaringToSuccess story features Vanessa Bauch '17, a double major in international studies and foreign languages. Vanessa’s love of languages and her willingness to go outside her comfort zone led to an international experience, full of cultural learning and immersion, right here in the Finger Lakes.

Let’s learn more about this unique experience from Vanessa….

The ability to create close relationships with professors is one of the many advantages of going to Elmira College. My sophomore year I attended events held by CUSLAR (Committee on United States and Latin American Relations) at Cornell University with my Spanish Professor Lauren Shaw. She noticed how much I enjoyed these events and helped guide me in the right direction to apply to be an intern, and by the end of my junior year I successfully obtained an internship at CUSLAR.

CUSLAR is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of Latin American issues by hosting speakers, educational events, holding interviews, researching issues, and publishing a semi-annual paper newsletter that is distributed to hundreds of subscribers across the globe, and uploading a digital version viewed by several thousand. This internship is quite different than most; CUSLAR emphasizes education and awareness rather than accomplishing multiple tasks throughout the day, and every day is different than the next.

In my first few weeks at CUSLAR, another intern and I were responsible for uploading and archiving our newsletters dated back to the seventies so that they are accessible on our website for anyone to read. As I was archiving, I got to read articles published by other interns from over forty years ago discussing issues that I learn about in class today. It was intriguing to see how issues change over time and how I am able to be a part of something greater than myself.

I also got to speak to Natives of Mexico, who came to speak about issues in Oaxaca in Spanish. It puts my Spanish to practice and creates new global relationships. Odilia Romero was one of the speakers I befriended last semester, and I published my article on her speech at Cornell about indigenous rights in Los Angeles.

This semester I was able to design our poster for an event that is happening this March, and distribute it across campus and social media. Like I said, every task I get to do at my internship is different every time and I have learned a few new skill sets. I am so pleased with the internship I have and feel as though I would not have made it here if I did not attend events with my professor who asked us to come. I took a leap out of my comfort zone and ended up having an awesome internship experience that I can build upon for my professional career in the future.