Having attended international school in Germany, where summer vacations were significantly longer than the ones at German schools, I was always used to the idea that summer break was a time period that was long enough for me to pursue projects wholeheartedly that I otherwise could not have done. Therefore, as soon as I found out that summer break as a college student is even longer (basically 3 months!!!) I started to consider all the possible ways I could spend the summer productively.
A part of me felt extremely pressured to look into internship positions that will transform my resume and prove to my future employers that I am a legitimate and work centered individual, because this is what seemed to be the “usual” and “normal” thing to do. Due to this, I forcefully looked into any available internship positions for finance firms and investment firms to validate my Economics major and be one step closer to owning a resume that will help me excel after I graduate college. Of course, while doing this I ran into the “typical” hurdles that international students tend to face of deciding whether or not to stay in America or find something in my home country or where my family resides.
In the beginning of the second semester I was determined to find something in America, because it seemed, on first glance, easier as I feel more comfortable working in an English-speaking environment. Additionally, I felt that the college itself prepared myself more for internship positions in America by making resources available that were US centric.
While all of this seemed pretty straight forward, as I continued the process of searching for ways to spend the summer, I stumbled upon questions such as “Where will I’ll be staying during my internship?” “Who can I contact in a case of emergency considering none of my family members or close family friends live in America?”. While logistical questions like these arose I also was faced with restrictions due to my visa status and was unable to even apply for a handful of internship positions that I thought were intriguing, because I don’t have US citizenship.
As the second semester progressed, I started to realize that I was beginning to become homesick and was unsure about the idea of spending the entire summer apart from my family, taking into consideration that this would mean that I will not see them for an additional half year. I was missing home and my family immensely and made the decision to prioritize my mental and emotional well-being and looked into any positions in Tokyo where my family lives. Sadly, most of the positions were no longer accepting applications and the choices were extremely limited considering my lack of work experience in Japan.
While I was actively searching for any opportunities and ways in which I could spend the summer, in the last week of classes I received an email from the German language resident offering a research assistant position for a Professor at CMC for which I would translate texts from German to English. Her email highlighted that she planned the position to be roughly 8 weeks and she also strongly emphasized flexibility in location and time because she was willing to send me the texts per email and requested translations to be sent back in a document. I immediately reached out to the Professor and expressed my interest in working with her. After conducting a short informal interview, I was offered the position.
Even though, I never fully considered or even could have imagined spending my summer as a research assistant, dedicating my time to something outside of Economics, I still learnt more than I had to offer. Not only was I able to work on my translation skills, but I was also able to discover my personal strengths and accordingly my weaknesses, because of the frequent feedback that I received.
Reflecting back on my first summer, I feel that I spent it efficiently and effectively, paying close attention to my emotional well-being. Even though I find myself thinking that I didn’t do anything as “impressive” as my peers, I try to acknowledge the personal and emotional growth that occurred during my 3 months break.
- Tami Sacre PO '21,