By Jenny Wang (Ecuador); Class of 2012—BSc International Logistics
I applied to a couple of internships in Europe and one in Egypt. And as time went by, the options narrowed down to Airbus in Bremen, one in Egypt and the Logistics Center of Humanitarian Aid of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Spain.
Egypt, however, was recovering from the revolution that occurred last year, and my parents were against me going there due to the social instability and safety issues. For my final decision, I went to the Canary Islands and worked for five months with the Logistics Center of Humanitarian Aid of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Las Palmas—the capital of the Canary Islands.
There are a total of four Logistics Centers of Humanitarian Aid of the Red Cross strategically positioned around the world to cater to emergency responses depending on the region affected by natural disasters and/ or political unrest, etc. The center in Las Palmas catered to respond to humanitarian emergencies in Africa.
My job was very dynamic which was very nice for someone who likes to try new things frequently. My job consisted of receiving goods for humanitarian aid from all over the world. I had to help with organizing the stock, strategize the movements of goods within and out of the warehouse, translating and preparing documents, understanding the regulations for customs for importing and exporting goods, updating and organizing office information/ databases, etc. Not only that, but we had frequent visitors—interested civilians, the representatives of the national and international federation, and the media.
I learned something new everyday—my supervisor gave me the opportunity to sit in on meetings with potential transporters and let me participate in all of the discussions and contracting.
Growing up in a 3rd world country let me witness injustice and poverty on a daily basis. This is why I always liked getting involved with outreach programs where I would work closely with the less fortunate—which was the main factor that made me take such an internship. This time, I was able to aid over 20,000 African families on an operative level.
Everyone that I met—from business representatives to the men that loaded and unloaded the containers—were people with the passion and drive that is needed to work in the field of humanitarian aid. They made work very meaningful, filled with laughter, and very rewarding.
By far theses five months have been the best of my life—at least until now. Not only was the purpose of my work stimulating and exciting, but the people I worked with, the people that I lived with, the strangers that I befriended, and the places that I visited made my time in Las Palmas very unique.
I am deeply grateful for this experience and I think it is a wonderful thing how my major requires from me an internship so that I may gain practical experience and prepare me for my future. Not only that, but Jacobs aided me financially through internship scholarships to facilitate my time abroad.
I now have so many more stories to share with my family and friends, and most importantly, I have gained confidence in my skills, in socializing and travelling, and working within a professional setting.