As an international student, Chin Wai “Rosie” Wong ’22 is passionate about working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that focus on different languages and cultures. So, when she learned Peace Boat US in New York City was offering four internships to Hollins students during this year’s January Short Term, she seized the opportunity.
Combining learning, activism, advocacy, and travel, Peace Boat enables people from the U.S. and around the world to study first-hand about global concerns such as war, environmental degradation, gender violence, and other issues. Wong and her fellow Hollins interns – Irina Conc ‘21, Leena Gurung ‘22, and Sajila Kanwal ’22 – worked closely with Peace Boat US Director Emilie McGlore on a variety of internal projects, including research, data entry, writing, and design. They also connected with other NGOs, United Nations (UN) departments, and colleges and universities to help build partnerships.
“This experience helped me gain a better understanding of how an international NGO operates and realize that the way to make a change is through action starting at the grass-roots level,” Wong said.
Wong, Conc, Gurung, and Kanwal attended and wrote articles about various special events such as UN programs, a fundraiser for Australian wildlife affected by the wildfires on the continent, and a New York City Council meeting on nuclear disarmament.
“At the council hearing we got the chance to read testimonies of the survivors of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” Wong explained. “They described their personal experience and trauma and urged the council and committee members to support the total abolition of nuclear weapons and their development.”
The communication studies major called working with Peace Boat US “a wonderful internship experience. It allowed me to see what is expected and what it is like to work in real life. It was also a lesson in what an organization is looking for and what I am looking for, and to see what I am capable of and what I need to work on more.”
Wong stressed that her time with the NGO gave her a tremendous sense of pride. “I wasn’t just an individual working for Peace Boat US. I was actually a representative of the organization, which cultivated a greater sense of responsibility in me. I felt this honor whenever I wrote, talked, or even walked on the street. I also felt proud to be one of the Hollins students working with Peace Boat US, enhancing the connection between Hollins University and Peace Boat, and paving the way for myself and my fellow Hollins students.”
Back at Hollins, Wong said she is looking forward to studying different kinds of writing, and her interest in learning more languages has grown as well. “In the future I would love to be a language teacher, spreading knowledge and love and bringing about positivity to society. I plan to volunteer as a language teacher on board a Peace Boat voyage one day and welcome a new chapter in my life.”