On Thursday night, I attended the Haverford College CPGC Post-Internship Dinner to discuss my final reflections on my summer in China and to listen to others share their summer experiences. There were about 40 of us Bi-Co interns and Haverford House Fellows who spent their summers volunteering in the USA and abroad in over 8 different countries. Over a pizza and brownies dinner, we discussed instances where we felt we did good, where we felt privileged, lonely, happy, etc.
Everyone had very unique experiences, so it took a long time for everyone to speak and contribute their ideas and feelings. We had two sessions of caucus small group discussions. Interns were asked to propose caucus topics relating to 1. identity and 2. action/service. Topics ranged from working as a queer person, to conflicting nationalism, to work/play balance, and reproductive rights, social justice and creative arts, and continuing work after internships.
I had proposed the topics work/play balance and voter registration. I led my small caucus on work/play balance because I wanted to hear about other people’s lives outside of internship work. I think it is really important to explore an area different from your own. Sometimes, this means specifically setting time off from work to do this. For example, this summer was my first time in China. Of course I was going to make the most of it, visiting as many museums and historical sites as I could. I even extended my time in Asia after my internship ended to travel more. I didn’t meet anyone else who did this, though. Exploring your internship placement area could also give you valuable insight on whether or not you could see yourself living and working there in the future for long term. Could you transcend cultural barriers? Could you communicate proficiently in a foreign language? Would you get sick of the food there?
My second proposed caucus on voter registration wasn’t as popular with the other interns, so I joined the creative arts and social justice caucus. I wrote down the information of the AAPI Voter Registration Training Session happening this Saturday September 10th for others if they were interested. It will be my first time volunteering with voter registration, and hopefully I can use my Mandarin skills to help Philly Asian Americans register to vote. I would also love to connect with the Asian American community in Philadelphia.
In the creative arts and social justice caucus, the leader shared political zines she had collected over the years. I like looking at zines because I am also interested in underground art and graphic design. I also used this caucus as a shameless plug for the upcoming performance by Philadanco, the Philly based historically Black dance company, at Bryn Mawr College on September 23 (BTW tickets are FREE for TRICO). And for Lauren Putty White’s iStand performance on October 9 at Painted Bride Theater in Philly, a politically charged dance piece on the Black Lives Movement and race in America (BTW through the Dance FLIP program Bi-Co students can get $10 off).
I really enjoy conversations and information exchanges like these with my peers. There is definitely work to be done to transfer this knowledge to the next wave of CPGC interns and the Bi-Co community.