An eye-opening experience

Hailey Kirsch.jpegHailey, a former World Relief intern, reflects on her experience working in the Reception and Placement Department.

I have had several experiences in my life that have impacted me on a greater level than I could have ever foreseen or imagined. You know, those experiences where in the moment it seems like just another season of your life, but then you take a step back and reflect on what happened and realize the magnitude of the impact it actually had on you? Those experiences that, once they’re over, you can’t remember what life looked like before it took place? For me, that was my time interning at World Relief.

I decided to intern with World Relief on a bit of a whim. A professor at my school notified students about internship positions for the spring of 2018. While I had heard a little about World Relief and the work they were doing, I thought the best way to truly understand would be to get involved. So I applied, anxiously waited to hear back on a decision, and eventually received an email stating that I had been accepted and would be interning in the Reception and Placement Department.

When I saw the department I would be working with, I was not fully sure what that entailed, but I was excited to find out. To be honest, I don’t think anything could have truly prepared me for what I was about to experience for the next three months. Of course, I had some general assumptions of what would most likely happen: I would be challenged on a professional and personal level, gain experience working in a professional environment, learn a lot about the organization and myself, and possibly gain a better understanding of what kind of work I wanted to pursue in the future.

Over the course of three months, all of my assumptions came to pass. However, there were many other elements of my time with World Relief that I did not anticipate.

I never could have prepared myself for how overwhelmed I would feel with the massive amount of new information I would have to learn on a daily basis; nor would I have been able to prepare myself for the satisfaction I would feel when I was finally able to understand what was going on. In some cases I was even able to offer my opinion on subjects that had at first been foreign to me. I never would have expected to meet so many wonderful coworkers, who, at the end of my time there, would come to feel more like family. I never would have imagined that I would have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful, caring, and inspiring clients, and establish beautiful and unique relationships with them. I never would have foreseen how my time at World Relief would completely transform my whole world and shatter some of my previously held beliefs. I was not only challenged professionally and intellectually, but also spiritually and personally.

During my time at World Relief, I met many people who whose cultures, countries and experiences all contributed to create such beautifully unique people, with equally inspiring stories. Some of the stories I had the privilege of hearing humbled challenged me – to understand and appreciate my own story, and to think differently about the way I saw the world, the people around me, and my faith. These conversations opened up new doors and ideas for me to explore ideas such as: my beliefs as a Christian, my viewpoint on current political issues, my understanding of certain cultures and religions, and my appreciation for the ability to be exposed to new ideas.

I am grateful to these clients who I had the opportunity to talk with and learn from. Because of them, I now see the world differently than I had when I walked into World Relief four months ago. I know now that my world will never be the same, and for that I will forever be indebted. I am also grateful for the wonderful staff I had the privilege of working with during my internship. Their patience and kindness shown towards me was so encouraging and valuable to my experience and made leaving World Relief at the end of my internship that much more difficult.

While it is difficult to accurately convey my entire internship experience and the impact it had on me, I believe it can best be summarized in this way: I stepped into this internship thinking I would just be getting some valuable professional and intellectual experience. Instead, I left with so much more. Now I can honestly say that I can’t remember what my life used to look like before this experience. I wouldn’t change that for the world.


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