September 3, 2009 - 12:00am
As an MPA student, I've developed a strong foundation in program design. In my internship with Save the Children in Indonesia, I'm learned how program management relates to program design. To be successful, a program needs to be designed well. However, it still needs to be properly managed and executed well. One can only learn a little about management from classes and books, but much of what you learn about management comes from experience. It’s great that my classes involved practical projects in groups, and I can get credit for going out to the field for 6 months. I met many other interns from other schools, and many of them are not getting credit for their internships. They’re taking leave from their schools, making their total time in school longer. I'm getting credit for all of this field experience, and still finishing my Master's degree in 2 years.
Most interns, in Indonesia, help their organizations by writing proposals and concept papers, and design programs. Many of my colleagues mention that they didn't previously know how to do these, and that their degree programs were very theoretical. When I mentioned that I was taught how to write proposals, and how to use tools for designing programs, they’d exclaimed “Wow, you learn practical stuff in your school!” We had some theory as a foundation at MIIS, but we didn't stop there.
Since my internship is at the end of my degree program, I don't have to go back to MIIS when I'm finished. I find a job that I can transition directly into it. In the field, I'm making a lot of contacts. If someone does contact me in the near future with an opportunity, I can act on it and don't have to ask if they can keep it open for 6 months while I finish my degree.