When I started this journey, I was optimistic about the opportunity to grow professionally and contribute to a meaningful program. I hadn’t had the chance to get hands on nonprofit work previously, so was very excited to learn the ins and outs of how nonprofits operate. I think this came to be the most valuable part of my experience- the ability to see what a future career working in nonprofits would look like. I was faced with typical problems one might run into while operating a program, as well as, the feeling of accomplishment when seeing how my work came to life. I was helping with the Activate Inclusion Sports Days which are chances for disabled students to try out adapted sports. While I could not obviously attend the days, it was extremely touching to see the pictures and videos, knowing that I had helped organize the events and played a small part in helping those children.
This internship also taught me about problem solving. In the first stages of my time at the organization, there were many communication issues. Tasks would not be fully explained, leaving me across the world, extremely confused. Being online and the time difference made learning how to do the work extremely difficult. When I would have an important question, my supervisors would be sleeping. Everything had to be explained solely online and through Zoom calls so there was no one there to let me know I was doing tasks exactly how my supervisor intended. At first, I was only able to get feedback after the work was done which was inefficient and, at times, frustrating. However, after the other intern and I got used to the process and the operating system, it was much easier to successfully complete what needed to be done. My supervisors and I had an important conversation about communication because there were issues on both ends. This resulted in a shift in how things were gone about which made the experience much more enjoyable and beneficial. These communication hardships were ultimately a good learning experience because we all learned how to best communicate as a group and it gave me practice at successfully overcoming professional issues.
The projects I was working on at Disability Sports Australia are not complete, as the program continues on in my absence. I know that they have other interns planned to take over my work. I laid the groundwork and gave helpful parting words so that these new interns’ transitions are smoother than mine was. I will say it was odd leaving unfinished work, but that is no fault of my own as much of the remaining tasks need to be accomplished in September of this year. Now that my time at DSA has come to a close, I will be pursuing a legal internship in the Office of Code Enforcement in my hometown. I will take what I learned at this placement, such as communication skills, and apply it to future internships. I am grateful for the opportunity to have received nonprofit experience and would like to continue on working in the public sector.