Lydia's Story

10 Month Internship in International Education at One To World, New York City, New York

Lydia had the experience of her life working for a Non-Profit and exploring the wonderful diversity of New York City.

Working for One To World is more than an internship abroad, it’s the adventure of a lifetime! As a person who is naturally passionate about cross-cultural understanding, this experience has given me a broader, more nuanced perspective of the world. As part of the Enrichment Programs team, I contribute to the development and planning of events for international university students to help them feel at home in New York City. It’s a responsibility I never would have imagined having at 20 years old!

Because of the diversity of our programs (community visits, volunteer activities, career workshops, etc.) I have been able to gain insight into non-profit management in the U.S. Even beyond that, I’ve met talented and inspiring people from all over the globe, which has been an incredible opportunity to learn about different cultures. For example, I am in charge of organizing a monthly Cultural Cuisine gathering in order to discover food from the five continents. Since September, we’ve dined at Vietnamese, Moroccan, Mexican, Japanese, Italian and Ethiopian restaurants across the city. I will always remember the reaction of the waiters when they take a look at our attendance list and see the different nationalities sitting together at a single table! Some of the students who regularly join the dinners have become really good friends. Now in addition to the monthly series, we get together in our free time to have “potlucks” and share recipes from our respective backgrounds.

Being a Fellow in an organization that is strongly involved in international education has also given me the opportunity to fully grasp the meaning of Global Citizenship. For instance, in the framework of the Global Classroom program, I’ve led interactive workshops in public schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Through this program I’ve been able to share about Algeria, my home country, through the lens of various themes like women’s rights and sustainability. I think that fostering dialog by creating connections with local students and children is a great way to reduce cultural misunderstanding and conflict.

Thanks to One To World, I’ve been able to escape the hustle and bustle of The Big Apple and explore other parts of the country, like when I spent five days in Pennsylvania celebrating Thanksgiving with an American host family. My hosts, who were also our tour guides, were the most adorable and welcoming people I could expect. They arranged a visit for us to see an Amish farm and they even drove me to Philadelphia because I had never been there before. This immersion into the American way of life was one of my favorite programs so far. I will never forget these days in Lancaster County and all the wonderful people I met. I am still in touch with my hosts and they are planning to come visit me in France next year!

Living in New York helped me grow, both personally and professionally. I feel lucky to be part of an organization that celebrates international education by bringing students together. As I’m writing to you today, I only have two months left and I’m realizing how much I will miss what made my experience so unique: no matter where you come from, One To World has the power to turn complete strangers into friends, and friends into a worldwide family.