by Nguyen Than Thuy Linh

One of our incredible members of our internship team, Linh, wrote this post during her second week at JUMP!. We are so grateful for her contributions this summer and wish her every success in the future!

This is my second week of my internship at JUMP! In this blog, I will share some of my experience so far throughout the journey with JUMP! If you are a young reader who is  passionate about developing social-emotional skills or if you are inspired  to dive in with JUMP! at some point in time, this blog is for you. As a young Vietnamese person, I have had a couple of times to step in the working environment of start-up organizations and youth-led community projects. I feel I have a big knowledge and skillset gap related to how to build effective collaboration and how to build deeply connected working culture. Because of this, I chose to spend my summer of 2020 at JUMP! to dive into a multi-national organization of experiential education. Some people laughed and asked what I could do with an online internship. I smile saying it is an adventure to discover human connection and personal mastery.

  1. JUMP! values interns as “rockstars” supporting them with a detailed self-development plan

The first and foremost important task for us as an intern is to set goals and expectations of the internship. What I love is to have straightforward conversations with my manager, Perrin Duncan, to speak in detail of my objectives and clarify what JUMP! can offer to help me meet the target. I thought my written application and long interview already explained well  my intention and the reason behind it. Yet everything needs to be put down into an explanatory document, importantly, it is a thoughtful set of objectives including a plan to achieve and an evaluation approach. I have shared that document with my teammate before talking to Perrin. We exchanged some similar objectives and different hopes at the same time. Perhaps, being collaborative with my peer provides me with a  diversity of perspectives. Though we are unable  to see each other in person, we are  pushed  to merge together as people who love a sense of learning.

Based on our individual goals, Perrin tries to connect us to the ideal environment catering our needs. For example, I am interested in learning about experiential education values and facilitation methods, so I will be attending some training sessions for facilitators. My teammate is leading the initiative of revamping the theoretical sections on the website into some innovative posts because she likes exploring such organizational theories.

  1. Autonomy and Empowerment

At first, we started by familiarizing ourselves with basic ideas of the Marketing and Communications Department. Our manager always provides detailed information through emails and WhatsApp. We were introduced to the Global team by sharing self-introduction on 3 topics (my objectives at JUMP! and  3 fun facts about myself and what inspires me). After goal-setting, we investigated all of JUMP!’s Communication channels (Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram) and gave feedback on their operation according to Plus and Delta points. The task demonstrates that our contributions are valued and help us to see how much we understand JUMP!’s  communication activities.

Every day is a joyful day with the tasks that we are assigned from Perrin. The assignments, however, allow us to take autonomy to innovate the way we want. We receive a running to-do-list every week that we can divide into a smaller scale for gradual progress. I feel empowered whenever we have some concern or request, Perrin will ask us to discuss among the intern team and make the decision by ourselves. We set the group norms, agreement upon a typical platform to work (Google Drive instead of Asana), who does what in Instagram management, etc. Though being required to work for 40 hours per week, we have a right to work flexibly within our own space. There is no pressure to meet the deadline or to reach up to the working hour expectation at all. Plus, Perrin pressed on the importance of collaboration between 2 interns instead of taking tasks as a competition. We were encouragedto be on the same page at mindset and way forward.

  1. Space for Conversational Connection

Check-in call with teammates

During the daily check-in call, we take time to provide a casual report and get to know each other better. I would highly recommend this “assignment” for any organization that works remotely. It is powerful for teammates to stay connected and motivated.  During these daily check-ins, we share both learnings and difficulties. Through this sharing,  we can give feedback on how to improve. My teammates are from Abu Dhabi and Canada. They are full of energy and each has an interesting and inspiring worldview. In addition to discussing work, we  update each other about our life,friendship, cultures, summer plans, etc. I always look forward to our daily conversations. 

Check-in call with JUMP! Full-Time Team

I feel blessed to have the opportunity to reach out to one Global Member of the full-time team per week to have a “get-to-know-you” call. These calls offer space to learn more from people’s stories that I don’t work directly with. I see this opportunity as part of the internship’s benefits rather than responsibilities. Each person that I’ve talked to has been incredible for their greater level of thinking and life-experience. Calling with them is always a highlight of my day because the conversations are so dynamic. Some individuals loved talking about adventure interests, some gave advice on how I want to fulfill my internship, some simply shared their views towards my sharing. ll of their voices embraced educational values, helping me reflect on my understand of JUMP!. It seems that everyone at JUMP! has a passion for art, body movement and adventures. Among the broad diversity of personalities, what is common is their positive energy and sympathetic attitude. 

Reflecting on the Journey of Empowerment and Self-development

At the end of the day, for me, empowerment is felt from a simple act:having conversations. We just need space to practice the right of expression,beyond what we think we can say. As the conversations go, the vulnerable self of individuals come out beautifully, stimulated by hearts of compassion and inspiration. How miraculous to constantly find empowerment in every project and communication moment at JUMP!. Self-empowerment goes along with the recognition of leadership, guiding me to take initiatives and empower others to join hands.

As such, there are hidden potentials that need external “ignition” to get on fire, if not, youth may bear doubts of our capabilities and the power of our voices. That’s what I used to go through. I used to feel like aninvisible individual in my other university in Vietnam. The most outstanding cause of my depression was the lack of empowerment in my classes, which I interpreted as human suppression. I later found a name for the scenario where students do not dare to speak up called “the culture of silence” by a Brazilian philosopher, Paulo Freire. Stacey Jones had an insightful blog investigating Paulo’s brilliant concepts on how adopt critical consciousness for lasting change. Her blog resonates with the current context of many youth in the world and my personal history. I never felt I could ask any question in the lecture hall among hundreds of classmates even though teachers often ask “Any questions?” Even though I am inspired to use my voice, it should also be supported from the genuine care of educators towards students. I realize that the title of “educator” does not mean that all of those individuals have precious values of learning, acceptance or connection. I believe that those who are humble enough to learn from any individual and have an open mind to welcome differences deserve to be recognized  for more than just a title.  

In RetrospectThrough my recent conversation with Stacey, I learned that I can empower myself. Empowerment doesn’t have to be brought by anyone. We have the ability to make our identity seen and heard. Everyone is a unique self but we walk through similar trajectories: growing up, facing strange events and realizing what our ultimate goals are in life. Eventually, it is thanks to an empowerment from ourselves and other human beings that we are able to deal with uncertainty, failure, and complexity in order to strive for the better.

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