Oslo Internship Reflections

by tuftsigl
Jul 15

Jessica Howard is in the class of 2017, majoring in American Studies and is an Oslo Scholar.
Over this summer I have been working alongside Meron Estefanos, an Eritrean activist, who works to help families of kidnapped refugees in the Sinai peninsula. She travels often and manages a series of different projects including a radio show, speaking appearances and publications.
My internship with Meron thus far has been an unpredictable experience. I began the internship at the end of June, making the decision to do the project from home rather than in Sweden with Meron, as I originally planned. Looking back I think this was a good decision as Meron travels so often that we wouldn’t have been in the same place for more than a week or two. However, the distance has also been our greatest challenge. Her schedule and the time difference makes meeting very difficult and we have only been able to Skpye a few times over the internship. My main responsibilities are helping with organization. For example,  I created a document for organizing calls she receives from refugees. I also have been sorting her email into tags so that it’s easier to find specific issues and contacts. A more creative project has been coming up with ideas for her website and looking at similar sites for inspiration. I have so much respect for Meron and I’m constantly amazed at her level of devotion and passion for what she does. I have learned a lot about what is possible at the individual level, how one voice can hugely impact lives, but I don’t feel like I have been a huge help to Meron. This has been a limited experience and I wish it could have been better organized and more hands on. I appreciate the experience and I love the work being done, but the logistics have not been in our favor. I’m just hoping I can make Meron’s work a little easier if possible.

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