Mina Islam spent the summer making the most of her global affairs degree by studying abroad in Israel/Palestine. Placed through Mason’s Global Education Office, Mina interned for World Against Violence, a Nazareth, Israel based non-governmental organization, with the goals of gaining a greater understanding both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and learning how to maximize the impact of an NGO.
“Any internship is worth your time,” she Mina said, “even if it is unpaid because if you truly want to spend the rest of your life in a career you are passionate about, then get your feet wet with an internship.” Initially scared of going to work in the conflicted region region, especially being an American Muslim, she went in with an open mind and an optimistic mindset and was able to gain the trust of her co-workers. Developing professional relationships with her coworkers allowed Mina to express her ideas and perspectives, something she is particularly proud of.
A typical day for Mina at her internship site Women Against Violence, a gender based NGO had her researching potential funding organizations such as European Union and UNESCO. She helped to write grant proposals and even learned some Hebrew. Mina also helped put together their social media platform, a key element for any NGO in today’s world.
Mina valued gaining a greater understanding of gender studies from a foreign perspective and, after a summer of eye-opening experiences, realized that politics are not for her. “I truly found myself through my internship at a gender based organization. I realized that I want to spend my life and education pursuit in projects that focus on providing education for young women and working on infrastructure for developing countries. This internship has allowed me to understand myself better as a student, young professional and a woman.”
For information on an Israel/Palestine study abroad experience like Mina’s and Mason’s Global Education Office, please visit studyabroad.gmu.edu.
September 18, 2017