He came, he saw…

… (and before he knew it) the internship was over.

As I sit to write down this final reflection (hence the featured image, get it?), strangely I have very little to say. All that I have had to mention regarding my internship has already been written on these blogs. By this time, if you have been following my blogs, you should know that World Learning is an amazing place to work at, my supervisor Kara is amazing still, I have been getting my feet wet in some projects here and there, and that my journeys between DC and Philadelphia have been particularly personally enlightening. Some would say that this feeling of completeness signals excellent closure. It was amazing while it lasted, and now that it is over, I have good memories to cherish, and precious little to reflect upon. But I will give it a try nonetheless (the minute hope of earning some extra course points can do wonders).

A three-month internship is a rather peculiar affair. It is short enough to ensure that you do not end up with anything concrete. And, just long enough to make you feel that you should have come away with something more solid. If there is anything harder than being a good three-month intern, it is perhaps being a good three-month internship boss. How do you even begin to go about it? Hand the intern something tangible to do, and you know that time is going to run out before the end-product is ready. Give them something more short-term, and they lose interest.

I have, at times during these past three months, let my mind wander in an effort to design the perfect IEDP internship. A couple of gems are as follows:

Make an effort to assign IEDP alumni as supervisors for IEDP interns. Alums know the IEDP context and may be able to find the perfect glass shoe to fit the intern.

Attempt to make the internship project-based. Interns go in with a set project (or two) assigned to them. They work on it for the duration of the internship and walk away with a shiny, completed project tucked under their belt. Dream on, the rational side of my brain told me. This internship is meant to be work experience for the intern, not self-inflicted misery for the supervisor, my rational brain added.

Nothing that Homer can’t explain (Courtesy: The Simpsons)

In a nut-shell, it isn’t an easy task. Little wonder, then, that my most rewarding experiences were the working relationships I formed during my internship. As I have said in my earlier blogs, it even made the work interesting.

Why do we need an internship, then, after all? Yes, it’s time for the big questions in life. What are we doing on earth, where are we headed and why does IEDP need an internship?

The answer, I believe, is quite simple: IEDP is a practitioner’s degree, practitioners need work experience, and an internship provides work experience. But then, if the end goal is work experience, is an internship the only way to get to it? (Backward design thinking classes, here I come!) Maybe what we are really looking for is more akin to a mentorship, than an internship (Yes, I Googled it. Mentorship is an actual term). However, most of these things are easier said than done. Pulling off the IEDP internship year after year on a global scale is a gargantuan task in itself, and one worth commending. The IEDP internship would, however, make for an interesting backward design exercise.

To conclude then: Thank you IEDP, for making this year memorable. Thank you World Learning, for making the last three months enjoyable. It has been a journey of self-exploration and one thing I have learned is that I quite like writing blogs! I hope the total two (or three) of you reading these blogs have had as much fun reading them, as I have had writing them. Till me meet again, on another blog post, somewhere. Fi aman ALLAH (may you be in ALLAH’s guardianship).

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