My Experience with the Kilachand Internship Program

Bridgette Lang CAS’23

Last school year, I was awarded the Kilachand Internship Stipend in order to support my summer internship with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The stipend supported my housing, transportation, and food costs in Geneva for two months. Not only was I given funding to offset living costs, but I was given mentorship and a framework to think about social justice.

Kilachand’s interdisciplinary curriculum approach is exemplified through the Kilachand Internship Program. Like other awardees, I had the opportunity to think about social justice issues through my internship and consider advocacy in an interdisciplinary perspective. I was excited to work at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees because my social media internship combined my interest in communications and international relations. Building off my knowledge from my Kilachand course, HC302, I walked into my internship very aware of how important it was to give refugees agency, and ultimately, let them tell their own stories through UNHCR communications channels.

This summer, I was able to do just that through UNHCR’s social media. With such a wide-reaching platform and a large number of stakeholders engaged with our work, I have ensured that our content and outputs are carefully selected and captioned, representing various stories, backgrounds, and regions. I’ve also helped with strategic campaigns, like the launch of our 2022 Education Report and World Humanitarian Day, by creating social media plans, drafting copy, and selecting photos. Outside of these short-term tasks, I also monitor UNHCR’s country-level and staff personal accounts. All in all, I have seen the overwhelmingly positive impact of social media in sharing the voices of refugees; the supportive comments and engagement everyday are a sign of people understanding our work and how they can become better advocates.

I am incredibly thankful that I’ve had the chance to live abroad and work on a topic that I’m very passionate about. If your internship is unpaid and related to social justice, I highly suggest that you look into this opportunity and start gathering your application materials for when it opens this winter. You can learn more here: https://www.bu.edu/khc/for-current-students/experiential-learning/kilachand-internship-program/

Making the Most Out of College Visits

By Bridgette Lang (CAS'23)

After two years of virtual programming, many colleges are starting to offer in-person tours and events again. With so many colleges to visit and so little time, it’s important to make sure you get the most out of your visits. Here are five tips that will help you while visiting BU or any other school:

1. Make a pros/cons list

I probably looked a bit silly on my college tours, but after seeing another student do this, I decided to keep a notebook of the pros and cons of every school I visited. Start writing your list of pros and cons during the admissions presentation and then, immediately follow up after you’ve seen the campus. What did you think of the majors offered, housing, and extracurriculars? If you start making a list during your tour, you can easily reference what you wrote while writing your college application essays. It’s a lot easier to name what stood out about a school when you have a premade list! I also used this list when deciding where to enroll.

2. Sign up for a tour

You may be saying, “Duh! Of course,” because this tip seems like a no-brainer, but from speaking to my friends and family going through the college admissions process, not everyone takes a tour! You might be in a rush or only think you need to walk around campus, but taking a real tour can show you things you would have missed by yourself. Tour guides will show you parts of campus that you may just stroll by and not see. 

3. Get your tour guide or another current student’s email address

You’re bound to have questions later, and if you can’t find the answers, emailing your guide is a great option. It may seem a bit scary to go get their contact information, but you won’t regret it. You’ve already established contact with them, and generally speaking, it’s their job to help you. Whether you’re filling out an application or deciding what school to enroll in, your tour guide can give you a personal perspective of their experiences. 

4. Pay a special visit to your departmental building

If you have any idea of what you’re majoring in, check out the building or office that your classes will be taking place in. For example, if you’re studying business, you can swing by the Questrom School of Business, or if you’re studying political science, there will be a separate office just outside of the College of Arts and Sciences for that. You will likely be taking the majority of your classes in one building, so make sure you like it! Also, see if there are any bulletin boards or flyers. What are students in your major doing in their free time, and what kinds of events are offered? You might want to include that in your pros and cons list!

5. Visit the surrounding areas

After you’re done walking around campus, try to visit the surrounding areas in order to ensure you feel comfortable. One of the main things I paid attention to during my off-campus visits were if there were shops within walking distance. Would you feel okay traveling to this spot to get groceries, meeting your friends for coffee, or spending some time shopping? For some people, convenience and access really make a difference.


Photo by Jackie Ricciardi for Boston University Photography.

Navigating Summer Internships and Jobs

By Bridgette Lang (CAS'23)

There are a handful of universal goals that most students have as they enter their freshman year of college: make friends, join a club, and obtain professional experience by the time they graduate. While all of us encountered COVID-19 as a bump in the road, many students here at the Kilachand Honors College still set out to reach their goal of working in their respective field through an internship or job. Furthermore, they adjusted, adapted, and learned to better themselves in a challenging environment.

Hear from some members of the Class of 2023 about what they did this summer:

Anika Brahmbhatt, Dual Degree in Media Science and Psychology

“I found my internship at MyHealthTeams through the College of Communication newsletter! Over the summer, I worked 20 hours per week writing medical and health content to be posted on 40+ social networking sites for people with chronic conditions. Now, I am continuing to write for the company on a freelance basis. I have gotten to learn about writing for search engine optimization, collaborating with a whole team of content creators, and of course, about how medical conditions impact people and their families’ daily lives.”

Tatiana Jose-Santos, Majoring in Psychology

“My internship was with a Boston-based company called Klarity. I found the opportunity through a friend in the Kilachand Honors College that also interned there. I worked throughout the summer full-time, mainly writing content for our website launch. I helped write a comprehensive guide on sales and marketing strategies and best practices for small to medium businesses and learned a ton about SEO marketing. I was also able to learn video editing, how to use HubSpot for email automation, and how to use different mediums, like Canva, to create graphics. Now, I am still working part-time as a content writer and am currently applying to more marketing internships for spring and summer.”

Leah Dobres, Majoring in Sociology on the Pre-Med Track

“In the fall of 2020, knowing that I was going to begin my sophomore year at home, I was interested in finding a job where I would gain experience working in a hospital. I did research into all of the hospitals in my area and positions they were hiring for, ultimately sending in upwards of twenty applications for various positions. I was hired as a unit clerk and telemetry technician at a long-term acute care hospital (LTAC). LTAC care is utilized for patients who are ready to be discharged from hospitals as we typically think of them but still need skilled care and close observation around the clock. As a unit clerk, I worked at the front desk on the unit where I wore many different hats. I answered phone calls, arranged transportation, scheduled outpatient appointments, scanned paperwork, responded to patient call lights, helped with staff communication, just to name some of my typical daily tasks. Additionally, as a telemetry technician, my job was to constantly monitor heart rate monitors and vital signs of about 20 patients at a time and page the proper staff if I noticed anything wrong (which happened often, as our patients were quite ill). In this position, every day was a different adventure, and I truly never knew what to expect when I walked into the hospital. I also gained so much experience from working at the hospital, learning about how a hospital functions and everyone’s roles. It was also a great way to get experience in the field I ultimately hope to go into, to make connections with healthcare professionals, to have something to do during the pandemic and to make some money.”

What to do the Summer After Your Senior Year

By Bridgette Lang (CAS’23)

The summer before you enter your freshman year of college can be a confusing time. You made a decision for your future, but now what? For the first time ever, you won’t have assigned summer work, meaning that you have a lot more free-time. Though it may seem like you have all of the time in the world, it’s still important to ration out some time for activities to prepare yourself for your first year of college! Here are some of my suggestions about what you should do the summer after your senior year:

1. Get a part time job

Getting a part time job doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend your last summer of freedom, but working during the summer can set you up well for the school year. It’s no secret that Boston is an expensive city, and having some spending money can’t hurt to offset some of those costs.

2. Learn skills to become more independent

Use your parents as a resource while you can! Do you have questions about how to open up your first credit card? Or maybe you’re just unsure how often you need to wash your sheets. College is your first step into adulthood, so ask questions before you get there. I’m sure your parents will love getting a phone call from you during the semester, but maybe they won’t be as happy if you are asking them how to clean the toilet two months into the semester.

3. Set up professional social media accounts

You might already have a Linked In or Handshake account, but if you don’t, go set one up now. Creating your account and entering in some basic information before you get to school will help you get a head start. Instead of creating an entire account when you’re looking for a summer internship in the fall, you can simply update your profile.

4. Make your Boston bucket list

If you’re not from Massachusetts, Boston has a lot of new sights for you to explore. If you make a bucket list over the summer, you can try to stop by everything that you want to see. You can maybe even make a one year and a four year bucket list. You’ll never get bored!

5. Find clubs to join and activities outside of class

In high school, I’m sure you participated in clubs that helped enhance your academic experience, but college offers a wider variety of clubs, organizations, and activities. It could be useful to evaluate what activities you enjoyed and what other ones you didn’t have an attachment to. Is there anything new that you want to try that wasn’t available at your high school? Check out BU’s full list of clubs here:

https://www.bu.edu/admissions/why-bu/student-life/student-activities/

6. Give your brain a rest

Every single summer, I am sure that you’ve been given summer work by your teachers. Reading five chapters of your AP textbook, writing three papers for your summer reading books, and solving math problems is what my summers normally looked like. With that being said, it's important to give your brain a break from learning and do what you enjoy. Congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished, and give yourself the space and time to reflect on your journey so far.