By: Veronica Glimada, community engagement intern
For many who have dedicated at least three months of their lives to intern with the IRC in Baltimore, the experience has sharpened their professional skills and expanded their career potential. Trieuvan Nguyen (Van) and Joseph McCarter (Joey) are two such former interns who helped hundreds of humanitarian immigrants in need of legal services. Joey is now a law student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Van has joined the IRC employment team, offering financial coaching to clients who are ready to solidify their financial future. Continue reading to see how their internship with the IRC’s immigration legal services team helped to shape their professional paths.
When did you intern with the IRC Baltimore?
Van: I began my internship with the immigration legal services team in May 2016 and was there for seven months. I immigrated here through the family reunification process and have always been interested in that process. In my role, I made phone calls to clients, conducted intake assessments for different USCIS applications and maintained case files.
Joey: I began my internship is January 2018 and stayed for two years. I had always wanted to be involved with humanitarian work and was excited for the chance to make a difference at the IRC. During my internship I met with multiple clients daily who wanted to apply for immigration benefits. I conducted intake interviews, gathered documents, and filled out their applications with them.
What were your internship goals and were you able to fulfill them?
Van: My goal was to start my career in the humanitarian sector and was fortunate to find a job with the IRC in Baltimore. I wanted to use the skills had gained to give back to the immigrant community, which I did with support from my supervisors. I have gained so much knowledge regarding refugee resettlement.
Joey: My primary goal was to gain experience doing immigration legal work and decide if I enjoyed it. After beginning the internship and realizing I loved the work, I stayed for a number of years to learn everything I could. I exceeded my goal in this regard.
How did interning with the IRC impact your career?
Van: Interning with the IRC made me realize the line of career I wanted. Through this internship, I decided that I wanted to work with refugees and immigrants as opposed to other populations. Currently, I am a financial coach and I help clients have a greater understanding financial literacy topics such as credit counseling, job readiness, or qualifying for a loan to purchase an asset.
Joey: My experience at the IRC solidified my desire to become an immigration attorney. I am now a law student and will be interning as a student law clerk at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. I learned not only about rules and procedure in immigration law, but also how to interact with global clients. Being able to handle client’s concerns and demands is a skill that can only be learned by doing and I’ve found that this interpersonal skill is advantageous in the job market.
The IRC in Baltimore currently offers remote internships, two remote volunteer mentorship opportunities and two housing set-up opportunities. We are continuing to hold virtual information sessions to provide an overview of IRC's work and how to get involved. Please see below for details.
Apply for an internship: each autumn, spring and summer we welcome a new cohort of interns.
Volunteer: current opportunities include remote family mentorships, remote youth success coaching, and housing set-ups and our welcome home project. Review the position descriptions and attend the next info session to learn more!
*Please note that an internship is not a guarantee of employment