When third-year sociology and English literature major Kaavya Lakshmanan took on a summer internship with Schema Magazine, she expected to gain experience in journalism. What she didn’t expect was a crash course in professional networking while uncovering a new career path.
The Arts Internship Program connects students with 4-8 month part-time, unpaid internships, which can be completed while taking classes or working. The majority of internship placements are in non-profit and community organizations.
“I decided to join the Arts Internship Program because I wanted to explore possible career options,” Kaavya said. “I liked that the program was flexible and allowed me to work a full-time summer job while completing the internship.”
Founded by Alden Habacon in 2003, Schema presents issues ranging from ethnicity to pop culture through an intercultural and transnational perspective. During her internship with Schema, Kaavya wrote a variety of articles including reviews of film and international festivals, and learned to adapt her writing to a more colloquial style for an online platform. Kaavya also attended several editorial meetings, and found that the staff and editors were very supportive of her development as a budding writer.
As part of her work with Schema, Kaavya had the opportunity to attend art gallery openings and other cultural events, such as Bollywood Wedding and Your Kontinent Festival. One of the most beneficial aspects of the internship was the opportunity to practice and gain confidence in her networking skills.
“When I first started attending [these] events, I was really intimidated to approach people who had a lot more career experience than I did,” she said. “By observing how people interacted in a professional setting and imitating their behaviour, I was able to learn how to network.”
Participating in a Go Global exchange in Durham, England, Kaavya is continuing to look for ways to improve as a writer, as well as gain experience in editing. She hopes to continue working with Schema while she is in England, and again when she returns to Vancouver. Kaavya feels that her internship allowed her to learn how to conduct herself in a professional setting and discover her passion for writing.
“I’m still not sure exactly what I want to do with my degree after graduation, but now I know that whatever I do needs to involve writing, because I’ve realized that it’s something that I really love to do.”