Summer Internship – Fort Worth Sister Cities

Way way back in November of 2016, I started scouring the internet for internships. Since I was about to go abroad, I decided to start looking super early so I wouldn’t be stressed. However, there were hardly any internships even online yet. I was looking for anything and everything: English related, Sociology related, Education related…

After a few weeks of searching, I finally hit the jackpot. I distinctly remember googling “dfw” “internship” and “international” together. Immediately, I knew that this was the place I needed to be!

Fort Worth Sister Cities International

Although I had heard a little about Sister Cities programs before, I didn’t really know what FWSCI was all about. I live 30 minutes from Fort Worth and am therefore a little bit outside of the area they typically reach.

FWSCI has 8 amazing Sister Cities, all of which I’d now love to visit. Fort Worth Sister Cities International is also the only program in the U.S. that focuses heavily on youth programs and exchanges. Our 8 Sister Cities are:

  • Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • Trier, Germany
  • Nagaoka, Japan
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Bandung, Indonesia
  • Toluca, Mexico
  • Mbabane, Swaziland
  • Guiyang, China

The Sister Cities movement began in 1956 with Dwight D. Eisenhower, who hoped to link cities around the world to promote cultural understanding, the economy, and general relationships. This summer I fell in love with both FWSCI as an organization and Fort Worth as a city! Hopefully, I’ll be out exploring our Sister Cities someday soon 🙂

 

Spanish Immersion

My first project in the office was Spanish Immersion Camp. Each summer, Fort Worth Independent School District and FWSCI pair up to put on an amazing summer camp for FWISD elementary school students. 10 university students from our sister city in Toluca, Mexico fly over to Fort Worth for two weeks of full on immersion teaching. Elementary school students from 1st grade through 5th grade can enroll in this two week program. At camp, they are only allowed to speak Spanish! These are students who are enrolled in FWISD’s dual language program during the year and take classes regularly in both Spanish and English. I was absolutely amazed at these small kids’ level of Spanish! They are absolutely incredible and grew so much throughout camp.

My intern office duties involved planning activities for the Toluca college students to participate in after the school day. From the Fort Worth Stock Yards to the Modern Art Museum, they saw it all! I also helped at the elementary school during the two weeks to ensure communication between FWISD and FWSCI was going smoothly.

I had so much fun helping out these campers and meeting our guests from Toluca, Mexico. At the end of camp, the two professors from Toluca gifted me with beautiful handmade shot glasses from their hometown. I will treasure them forever!

ILA

When I interviewed originally for the office internship with FWSCI, my boss recommended that I also interview for a spot as an ILA (International Leadership Academy) facilitator. I am so glad that I did! Getting to actually participate in camp after months of the office “planning” side of things was incredibly rewarding.

ILA camp has been going on for 28 years in Fort Worth. Top students from all 8 of our Sister Cities travel to the United States to participate in this two-week leadership academy, held at TCU, that aims to promote both cultural understanding and leadership skills. It was such a privilege to work with these young adults. This year, we had about 60 students.

Throughout the two weeks, I got to know my 8 group members (as well as my co-facilitator from Toluca!) particularly well. Team Dream High, you will always hold a special place in my heart! Thank you for all of your hard work!

After classes, we ventured out as a large group to many places around DFW including UNT, Group Dynamix, the Water Gardens and the Fort Worth Stockyards. I had so much fun showing people from all over the world my home here in Texas.

It was also an honor to get to work with so many amazing faciltators, who hailed from Toluca, Mexico and Nagaoka, Japan. I miss you guys!

Home Hosting

After camp was over, my family hosted two students from Swaziland who needed a host family for one night before their crazy 24 hour travel day back to Swaziland.

My family had a blast welcoming these girls into our home. We went to church on Sunday morning, had Torchy’s Tacos for lunch, visited the Gaylord Hotel and Grapevine Lake, and had a wonderful family dinner night. America’s Got Talent was a favorite for us all.

Thank you FWSCI!

I would like to thank everyone associated with Fort Worth Sister Cities for making this summer so memorable. It is such a privilege and a blessing to make friends from all over the world.

In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower himself,

 “Accomplishment will always prove to be a journey, not a destination.”

Thank you all for being a part of my journey!

 

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