Anlly Palacios is a second-year CIPA student who is concentrating her studies on Social Policy. If you wish to learn more about Anlly, you may read her bio here.
This past semester, I had the opportunity to intern at New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), through CIPA’s New York City Externship Program. The externship program allows CIPA students to get real world experience via externships. In addition to the work placement, externship participants also attend bi-weekly colloquium speaker events with local CIPA alumni professionals. Finally, if available, students can take CIPA courses via online learning, where students participate in real time via webcam. While there are pros and cons to the NYC externships, my experience was overall a positive one.
First off, my time at NICE was both a rewarding and insightful experience. At NICE, I was able to explore my interests in the nonprofit sector, specifically working with Latino immigrants in Jackson Heights, Queens. As an externship requirement, interns must work for at least eight weeks for 20 hours per week. During this time, I was able to collaborate closely with my supervisors, work on impactful city-wide legislation, and connect with NICE members. However, due to the time requirements, I had to balance both work and school obligations, which included assignments from both colloquium and my online courses.
Secondly, being in New York City allowed me to network with CIPA alumni who work in the city. Every two weeks, a CIPA alum, representing various sectors, spoke to me and my cohort about their respective industry, organization, and job responsibilities. Since my cohort consisted of four CIPA students, we were able to have candid and in-depth conversations with the guest speakers. Additionally, I was also able to meet with other alumni for coffee or lunch for informational interviews, which helped me tremulously in terms of narrowing down my job search. While I was exposed to a variety of guest speakers, the amount of speaking engagements were limited compared to the number of events in Ithaca. On the Ithaca campus, speaking events occur almost daily, and students have greater accessibility to participate in events of their choosing.
Finally, being in New York City was a great opportunity for me to reconnect with my family and community in Queens, as well as explore parts of the city I never knew about. If you look hard enough, there is always something to do in the city. However, while mobility and entertainment is more accessible, financial constraints, especially in the form or high rent, can cause limitations. In Ithaca, most events are free or offered at a low costs.
Despite some minor cons, my experience in New York City has been an exceptional one. I was able to gain work experience, explore my interests, spend time with my family, and land a job. My advice to anyone considering the New York City Externship is to plan your courses accordingly, find internships opportunities early, and keep the line of communication open with your advisor if you have any questions. Keeping these in mind, I truly believe the NYC externship will be an unforgettable experience.