My name is Claire, I am from Germany and currently doing an internship at QUEST Alliance. I came here through the exchange program of the international student organization AIESEC.
I started my internship on March 15th and will be working for QUEST Alliance for another three and a half months. As a student with a Communications background, I am responsible for managing all the Communication work here at QUEST. In the first days of my internship, I read a lot of brochures, reports and articles about the work of QUEST Alliance to get an insight and a better idea of the whole organization. I then started working on an integral Communications and Branding strategy to push ahead our perception in public. It was a necessary step as there was almost no external communication taking place so far. I set up a strategy and a plan through which channels (online/offline) we should communicate, why, how often etc. In the end, it was also up to me to implement the planned measures and carry them out. QUEST Alliance is now present on the major Web 2.0 channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, Youtube and this blog) and we could already score some success with that.
Another area of work for me was and still is the creation of our first Annual Report and our first Newsletter since QUEST Alliance has become a separate entity from the International Youth Foundation in 2009. Both will be issued pretty soon and will then be available on our Website as a PDF. Apropos Website: I also worked a lot of hours for our new website which will be launched within the next days. I chose suitable pictures and uploaded them as well as most of our content. Soon all the effort that has been put into all those projects can be seen. We will keep you informed!
In the upcoming weeks, I will try to push forward our online channels in order to promote the organization and increase our visibility. Furthermore, I will work our Media Relations and try to establish sustainable and long-term partnerships with relevant media houses. We also aim to have a good-working and effective CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool in order to manage our partnerships which will be another area of focus for me.
On top of all that, I was offered by my colleague Abhijeet to volunteer for one of our partner organizations, Dream A Dream to get a better insight of grassroot work and what is behind the programs of QUEST Alliance. So I signed up as a volunteer and have been already quite active since then. I attended one Adventure Camp for children as a Leader (see last blog post) and have been co-facilitating in an IT-class for students that undergo a lifeskills program. Volunteering and having contact to the target group of QUEST Alliance’s programs help me a lot to understand the ground reality in India. Furthermore, it is a great feeling to be able to help children and young people and to improve their chances in life.
I always wanted to go abroad but it never worked out before. It is really a coincidence that I ended up having my exchange experience here in India. Which, looking back, has been the best thing that could have happened to me. It is always a challenge to live in a different country. Yet, I think, the challenge is even bigger if you are in a country that is so different from your own. It leaves even more space for personal growth and development.
Before coming to India, I read a lot about the traditions, customs, mentality etc. and I also talked to friends who had spent some time in India. I felt somehow prepared for my experience in India. Once I was here, reality struck me hard and it took some time to get adjusted to everything. I learnt my lesson that you can never really be prepared for another country unless you arrived.
I have been here for almost three months and I can now say that I really feel comfortable and enjoy the otherness of this wonderful country (which had caused me a lot of trouble in the beginning). To me, this is what an experience abroad really is about: dive into a new culture, accept its differences and learn something from it for yourself. This gives one the opportunity for personal growth and development as well as a new view on the world. Or as my motto in life puts it right: “Constantly challenge your world view!”. I am glad that I can have my experience abroad here in India which definitely challenges my world view. It is an experience of a lifetime! When I go back to Germany, some things will have changed for sure – I will have changed. Not in the fundamentals of my character but some attitudes and views. And this is what an exchange experience is and should be all about!
Until then, I just enjoy my time here with all the great people that I met and will still meet and my really interesting internship with nice colleagues and a great work climate that leaves enough room for own ideas. Thanks to QUEST Alliance for giving me that opportunity in my life!