Challenges as an International Intern
For part 1 of phase 1, I was in charge of helping Mr. Eastman with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) project. As I was not loaded with any heavy tasks, I tried to research some things about the project and that consumed a considerable amount of time. Maybe an hour of one-on-ones is enough for some, but the project at hand probably needs more time to understand. That is why I took the initiative of researching on my own.
Communication is really the biggest hurdle that we encountered especially due to the pandemic and its remote nature. I really wanted to help in the GCF project as much as I can and delve deeper into it. But my understanding is limited to the architectural profession and drawing processes of the project. I have confidence in my abilities as an architect but what was needed is different from the thought I had. I misunderstood the tasks given to me. Because of the lack of communication and too much of an independent attitude, I created a Conceptual Design Presentation usually submitted for construction of the buildings, which was not only a waste of effort but a waste of time. Should I have kept asking, I might have more time creating the pitch deck instead. Initiate, ask, and comprehend, there’s nothing to lose.
In that short time after the hurdle, I was able to manage my time to finish the pitch deck because I have consulted thoroughly with Mr. Eastman. I feel that I have now developed an adaptability skill which is much needed in the work field. Being able to quickly adjust to new situations is one of the most valuable soft skills, not only for employment but also for our personal development. While on the other hand, I am still improving my communication skills day-by-day. It's one of the most sought-after qualifications by employers, and it's something that can propel you from the bottom to the top. Working for the first time in an organization that doesn’t know my native language can be difficult to get used to. But it is the best way to improve my English and the ability to speak with people in a professional setting.
This position gave me the opportunity to be in direct touch with the differences of planning and architecture.
Making a Pitch Deck
As an architect, I am already experienced in creating design presentations for clients. But as I mentioned above, it was a different scenario for the planning field. There will be audiences and stakeholders that you need to consider their level of comprehension and attention. What would work across audiences?
“Less Is More.”
Even in architecture this is a quote that is incredibly useful. Less words, Less slides. I know it is hard to delete a photo or a sentence that you think is needed for the slides. We do, however, want each pixel to convey something significant and engaging. So, if the pixel is communicating something you'll say out loud during the presentation, it may no longer be necessary to be included in the slides. Too many words or animations may detract from what you want to communicate, not to mention that you will lose the attention of your audience.
After showing a couple of pegs and a short discussion of the additional slides for the pitch deck, I had to start the new version from scratch. I gained professional feedback from someone who works in my desired field. Thus, learn from others. It may seem obvious – after all, you're interning to acquire skills – but don't forget to study others in their work roles to understand the ins and outs of other professions. During your internship, be like a sponge and drink up as much knowledge as you can; it will pay you in the long run. A few youtube videos here and there on how to use Adobe Creative Suites is one of my strong suits. Being assigned to make a pitch deck template on my own accord is where my ability to take decisions independently was polished.
Advice to the Future Interns
Work hard no matter what you're doing: Even if your task is small and insignificant, you should always put out your best effort. It will assist you in developing a strong work ethic, and soon others will notice your efforts. It's not pleasant to be told what to do all of the time, but your superiors know better. It will be easier for everyone if you follow the rules and directions they will provide you.
Experience with Resilient Communities
Working as an intern for RC and accomplishing assignments gave me the confidence to believe in myself. Believing in oneself is important not just for your success, but it also makes you feel more competent and confident in your work.
Our lives are shaped by the experiences we have. Internships will encourage not just personal growth but also a better knowledge of oneself. Knowing oneself means understanding your objectives and how to best attain them. Finding this degree of clarity can be tough, but sometimes all it takes is stepping outside of our comfort zone and attempting something new. This is why I believe this internship will allow me to learn more about what it's like to work for a non-profit organization.
My first few weeks at RC allowed me to not only grow as a person, but also to learn new skills in adaptability and strengthen my communication skills I had never had before. I'm also starting to get a better knowledge of NGOs, and I've picked up a few new references for the future. But, most significantly, I learned a new sense of professionalism and a greater understanding of what it meant to be in the outside world as a planner.
Summer 2021 Co-op Student
Master of Community Planning, 1st Year
University of Cincinnati
Class of 2022