Over the summer, Emmery Llewellyn ’19, a fourth-year IES (Integrated Educational Studies) and English double major, had the exciting opportunity to serve as an intern abroad in Dublin for a nonprofit called Fighting Words. Emmery talks here about how she got involved with the organization, her insights on how the experience aligned with her passion of becoming an English teacher, and her interest in being a global citizen.
How did you get involved with Fighting Words?
It all started when I applied for Chapman’s summer internship course through EUSA International Internships. This company interviewed me early on in March to see what I was studying and what my future career plans are. They found an internship placement with Fighting Words that perfectly matched my interests of becoming an English teacher! It is a creative writing center in Dublin, and its sole purpose is to encourage children, young people, and adults of all backgrounds to uncover their inner writer. My job was to help facilitate these workshops and to assist with administrative tasks.
Being a nonprofit organization, Fighting Words relies on the work of their interns and volunteers. It was a pleasure getting to work with young kids and seeing their creativity come to life through short stories and plays. I was awestruck by the stories of the communities we served, including retired dock workers and migrant teens and adults. In every writing workshop, I got to see so many people’s identities come out of their writing. I hope to continue this work by reaching out to their sister organization in the US, 826 National.
What was the most memorable part of the internship?
There were so many moments that will stay with me. For instance, at one workshop I sat down to learn about the history of dock workers from an 84-year-old man. There was also the time that I came home covered in glitter and glue after scrambling to help 7 and 8 year olds create puppets during our shadow puppetry workshop.
Probably the most memorable part of my internship at Fighting Words was the time a 16 year old came up to me and told me that her week during the novel writing summer camp was one of the best experiences at Fighting Words because she had made close friends.
Do you have any advice for students who want to intern abroad?
My advice for those who are on the fence about studying abroad is, “Do it!” I had hesitations about traveling on my own to a country that I have never been to. Coming out of it, I feel stronger and more confident in myself as a worker, a learner, and a global citizen.
You don’t need to do a semester abroad to get a full “study abroad experience.” A two-month-long internship was just what I needed.
For those who are 100% ready to study abroad, I would say that they should ignore their expectations. Before heading out, I had ideas of traveling all over Europe during my weekends off. Those plans quickly fizzled out once I stepped into Ireland. Turns out, my heart was set on getting to know the country that was hosting me for the summer. In summary, I would say, keep an open mind.
Excerpt from the Attallah College Undergraduate Student Newsletter.