For those of you who don’t know me or what I do, my name is Alex Ozkan and I am one of the two NPHI Leadership Institute Interns this year from Seattle University. I have been working with the Leadership Institute since September, and am grateful to have such a fantastic internship. I serve as a cultural partner and English tutor for the four students in the program this year as well as provide some administrative support for the Leadership Institute. Coming in, I expected my role as an intern to be a typical intern role: office work, errands, etc. However, after attending the opening mass early in the year, it became quite clear that this internship would be something different. I was greeted with home-cooked food (a rarity for a college student) and a friendly environment. I remember being in awe after returning to campus the hospitality I experienced and the number of people who truly wanted to help and support the four students in the program this year. From that point on, I realized that I was going to be welcomed into the NPH family whether I expected to or not.
From my perspective as an English tutor and cultural partner, I have seen growth and personal development in the students. From an academic perspective, the students continue to improve and make progress in the difficult language that English is. They impress every one of my friends they meet with their comprehension and conversational skills that they have developed in the past six months. Additionally, I continue to be inspired by the students’ commitment to making the world a better place and desire to help their respective homes. They express their gratitude for everything they have been given liberally and truly strive to be good servant leaders.
As for me, I have learned and grown through the experience I am getting by working for the Leadership Institute. I am learning what the culture is like in a nonprofit organization and am seeing the difficulties that come with running one—particularly with such a young organization like the Leadership Institute. I am gaining cultural awareness by working with the students and am learning the difficulties that come with working in a cross-cultural context. Surprisingly enough, I am also learning more than I expected about English, particularly some of the grammar and mechanics. This experience has also reaffirmed my desire to serve internationally at some point in my life.
The past 6 months of working with the students and the Leadership Institute have been fantastic and I look forward to interning with such a great organization through June!
Seattle University ’15