In September 2020 I began my semester-long internship with the Jesuit Refugee Service’s international office here in Rome. Like many of my peers, my experience was impacted by and conducted in compliance with COVID-19. While this has absolutely been a hard year for myself and everyone I know, I have been given the opportunity to understand how a pandemic such as this impacts refugees and forcibly displaced people – and I’ll say that the circumstances the virus has brought has had an even greater impact on their lives and journeys. Soon I will be finishing my time at JRS, but in these four months I learned a lot about what my future as a Communication major could look like, as well as the way in which NGOs operate – even amidst a pandemic.
During my internship I was tasked with editing and formatting stories about the organization’s work and its affiliates, testimonies from employees and refugees, proposals for projects as well as reports on past and ongoing projects. I also addressed letters to donors and religious congregations, which I learned was crucial to the work of nonprofit humanitarian organizations. This year, JRS is celebrating 40 years of service, and for the event I organized information into an interactive timeline, which informs about different humanitarian crises that JRS responded to over the past 40 years.
While I worked remotely for most of the duration of my internship at JRS, I was able to work in the office on two occasions and was met with much warmth and encouragement. My advisors were always more than willing to answer my questions and I in turn able to improve my skills and comprehension of the industry as well as the geopolitical climate that migrants and aid organizations are facing today.
-- Rachel Babb