When I was a senior in college, I visited Paris and decided I needed to live in a city much more different from the US than a posh French capital. When I got back to Northwestern for my final quarter of school, I came across an organization called AISEC. The student-run group sets up young people from around the world with jobs and internships in virtually every country.
Applying for the Job
I wanted to work in India and, it turns out, that’s not a popular option (general rank odors and fear of rickshaw deaths deter many prospective applicants). I found the Northwestern AIESEC organization on campus and they helped initiate me. Once I was accepted into AIESEC (a free process), I had access to a database of millions of jobs. I exchanged emails with a couple of prospective employers in India and eventually chose one.
My internship was in the communications department of the APAC (AIDS Prevention and Control) division of a USAID funded hospital in Chennai, India. We created a character, “Right Ranga” to deliver our HIV prevention messages across the Southern state of Tamil Nadu. One of our main job was to educate community leaders — such as hospital and community service workers, policemen and more — about HIV. It’s shocking how little they knew about sex or HIV (if they had even heard of the disease at all). Many thought God was responsible for bestowing the disease on people. It was an incredible experience to work in this environment!
Of course, the best part about living in a country so different from ours is that every day was exciting and new. I learned so much during my time there and encourage everyone to break out of their comfort zones and try such a living experience.