STUdent Megan Gibson Works with Costa Rican Organization through New International Internship Program
Over 4,000 miles and a three-hour time difference didn’t prevent fourth-year Political Science and International Relations STUdent Megan Gibson from completing an internship with an organization in Costa Rica this term.
Gibson is one of the first participants in the new International Experiential Learning Program run by STU’s Office of Experiential and Community-Based Learning. The Experiential Learning Office has partnered with Global Learning Costa Rica to offer international internship experiences for STUdents at various organizations across the country.
Global Health Work from Fredericton to Costa Rica
Gibson worked as a Social Awareness Intern with Casa Jaguar, a government organization working to address substance use disorders (SUDs) among Costa Rican youth. Gibson spent time researching how SUDs affect youth, the correlation between SUDs and mental health, and Costa Rican policy making. She then took her research and created academic reports, infographics, and social media content.
Gibson’s internship culminated with a plan for a theoretical NGO to provide mentorship and recovery services for Costa Rican students struggling with substance use disorders.
“It was really exciting to get to do an international placement in my area of interest from right here in Fredericton,” Gibson said.
Gibson said the experience allowed her to develop new skills like cross-cultural communication, adapting to working in a different time-zone, and using new communication methods.
Support for students
Students participating in an internship through Global Learning Costa Rica also have the opportunity to take weekly Spanish lessons and attend a variety of cultural and employment workshops. During the 12-week placement, students are also paired with a mentor with whom they meet regularly to discuss internship assignments and goals.
“My favourite thing was meeting with my amazing mentor, Luis. We enjoyed sharing about our countries and talked about everything from politics to sports. He was so open about sharing his knowledge with me and I loved getting the opportunity to learn about substance use as a global health problem and to brainstorm ways of addressing it through policy and project development,” Gibson said.
Gibson said the Office of Experiential Learning provided additional support throughout her internship, including regular check-ins and getting the experience counted toward Gibson’s Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement.
Applying learning to the classroom
Gibson first heard about the International Experiential Learning Program after chatting with Experiential Learning Office staff, and felt it was the perfect match for her interests and related directly to her studies. In addition to majoring in Political Science and International Relations, Gibson is also double minoring in Spanish and Human Rights.
“I am passionate about studying global health and my region of interest is Latin America. I knew this internship would allow me to learn new skills and make connections in another part of the world, which was really intriguing to me since I’m looking to pursue this type of work in the future,” she said.
Gibson will graduate this spring and plans to either attend graduate school or work in international development and global health. She said doing an international internship furthered her passion for international affairs.
“If you are thinking about doing an international internship, I can’t recommend it enough! You will learn so many new skills, find your passions, and meet amazing people along the way."
STUdents interested in the International Experiential Learning Program can now apply for summer internships through Global Learning Costa Rica. Learn more and apply here.
- Deadline to apply is April 15
- In-person internships begin on June 6
- Virtual internships begin on May 9