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I am a Political Science and Economics student from Alexandria, Virginia. I came to study in London for the fall semester through James Madison University and as part of my experience I had the opportunity to intern with IARS from September to December 2021. 

From my first day interning at IARS, I was welcomed into the organization by my supervisors Maija and Sophia as well as the rest of the team. If I ever had a question or concern about anything I was working on, I could always feel free to reach out to anyone through email or text. I am so pleased that I was able to intern at an organization with a positive and supportive work environment—I was able to create more meaningful relationships with coworkers and work more productively as a result. While IARS was in the middle of its rebranding process, the team took my opinions into account and believed that my thoughts would provide insight on how to market in the coming years.

I interned on a hybrid schedule, coming into the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and working remotely on Wednesdays. This arrangement encouraged me to manage my time effectively and become more used to balancing time between the office and home—a skill which will be critical in the post-pandemic world. 

I worked on a variety of projects at IARS, most notably the EU-funded EDEEY Project. My first task for this project was to compile a list of charitable grant funds into a new spreadsheet featuring descriptions of each foundation and classifying them by the type of support that they offer. I then began working on a document which would serve as part of EDEEY’s training program for young social enterprises and charitable businesses, which features guidance on applying for grant programs. Utilizing dozens of sources, I wrote sections about how to find and apply for grants through online databases, how to ethically maximize fundraising in the digital world, and how to navigate different legal classifications of social enterprises. Researching the world of UK charities/social enterprises gave me valuable insight into the plethora of organizations and fundraising methods that exist in this sector, and increased my ability to synthesize large amounts of information.

I also worked on several smaller projects at IARS. One of my favorite days of the internship was when I had the opportunity to deliver a training session to three work experience students who were visiting the office for a week. I created a presentation on mental health and mindfulness, which made a positive impression on the students while providing our organization with knowledge of the things that young people value today. I also assisted in drafting an introduction for an IARS Impact Report and worked with a fellow intern on researching and compiling a list of businesses in the legal, insurance, and technology sectors that IARS could partner with in the future. 

Overall, I am very satisfied with my experience at IARS. I was welcomed into a kind and productive team which helped me improve my professional skills, and was able to assist IARS in its projects and be present during its rebranding process. I would like to thank my supervisors and the rest of the IARS staff for making this an incredibly valuable learning experience and part of an unforgettable semester in London.

By Allen Hill