My name is Toluwanimi Segun and I am currently a junior studying International Politics. I had been on the lookout for on campus experience with something related to international affairs for a long time, as it’s what I’m passionate about. So when the emails with the opportunity at CGS were sent out, I was ready- it took me a very short while to respond with an application. Everything happened really fast. I was offered the internship after my interview and accepted when I got the approval of my parents.
Initially there were some doubts in my mind as to whether I could handle the workload. This semester is the first one that I have taken more than 5 classes in, and a job felt like it might be too much. But very quickly my fears were allayed by Sarah and Mary, who are a joy to work with. They made the expectations very clear and I was made to understand that the work at CGS should not be an impediment to my academic success, which I appreciated greatly.
During this semester I worked on World Stories Alive!, a multicultural learning experience put together for local kids at Schlow library. It was an excellent experience for me. I learned the valuable skills of communication, event planning and coordination. Whenever it was my turn to organize a session I would have to make sure the speaker was ready, organize the crafts the kids would make and handouts for the event. None of that would have been possible without the help of Emily, the graduate assistant, who was always gracious enough to offer assistance when asked. I also worked on a press release, various posters, and articles for the CGS newsletter.
There were two especially memorable experiences for me. One was teaching at Bellefonte High with my friend Nnaemeka Amadi. We taught the kids about Nigeria using humor and virtual reality, and the response was very positive. I was very impressed with the way the kids were being taught about other cultures from early on, and the intelligence of the questions they asked. The other was the opportunity to interview legendary Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.
Listening with rapt attention to Ngugi speak during the interview.
We spoke about language suppression, his fight against it, and some of the trends in contemporary African literature. It was really great to be in the presence of someone with such a vibrant life experience and widespread impact, one that I’m very grateful for. I will not be returning to CGS because I expect my senior year to be more hectic than this semester was. There are some things that I consider mistakes that I hope to correct in future work experiences. The major thing was sometimes forgetting what tasks I have, I will be more on top of that moving forward. I also enjoyed working with Rana and Renee, my fellow interns. We did not really collaborate on a lot besides the WSA series, but when we did, things went smoothly. I wish them the best in their future endeavors. Overall my internship was extremely enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone seeking valuable working experience dealing with multicultural affairs.