English Major Shares Internship Experience Working for Refugee Development Center

Sasha Beloglazova, a senior with a major in English from the College of Arts & Letters and a minor in Business, has a dream of becoming an English educator. A native of Russia, Beloglazova moved to the United States two years ago to pursue an undergraduate education from Michigan State University. She said her international background has fueled an interest in world affairs, foreign policy, and global economics.

Photo of a woman (Sasha Beloglazova) who is pointing at a sign that says "Mentoring" at the top and Sasha's name is listed below that along with two other names.
Sasha Beloglazova at the Refugee Development Center where she interned with the youth mentoring program.

Beloglazova currently works as an Office Assistant for the MSU Office of the President; is involved with the Multi Racial Unity Living Experience (MRULE), a social justice-oriented and multicultural organization that unites students across demographic differences; and holds a liaison position with the National Council of Teachers of English.

In a Q&A with the Excel Network, she writes about an internship she had with the Refugee Development Center (RDC) in Lansing, Michigan, a local organization that works to mentor area youth.

How did you obtain your internship? 

I discovered this internship from a College of Arts & Letters’ Newsletter that was emailed to me. The youth mentoring program interested me, so I applied.

What were your internship responsibilities?

I interned with the youth mentoring program at the Refugee Development Center. I worked in a classroom with two other teachers. I mostly helped the teachers with lesson planning. My responsibilities specifically included creating English (grammar oriented) lessons meant for high school students.

What did your daily routine include?

My daily routine began with arriving an hour before classes started. I would set up the classroom and print out any needed materials for the day. I would also greet the students and their parents before class started. This allowed me some time to get to know the students better.

What skills did you learn and/or build upon during the internship?

I learned a lot about nonprofits and teaching through this experience. Since this was my first time teaching in a real class setting, I learned many useful skills that included class preparation. This experience was insightful and boosted my confidence. I gained many new skills, which I wouldn’t have if I had not applied for this internship.

What did you learn about the industry as a result of this internship? 

I learned a lot through my experience, especially about the nature of nonprofits and teaching in general.

What was your favorite experience from the internship?

My favorite experience from my internship was a time when we got to go outside. It was like a little recess moment. It was a nice day and I got to just spend time with the students, get to know them more, and just have fun. Also, all of the directors and the staff that work at the RDC are lovely people. Meeting all kinds of people from all different backgrounds was also a very heart-warming experience.

What was the most challenging part of the internship?

Because this was my first teaching experience, it was scary to go into a classroom and just start teaching, but that is the only way to do it. That is exactly what happened in my experience, and I am actually very grateful for that.

What are your future plans?

I want to go into language learning, so my experience at the RDC was incredibly helpful and eye-opening. It made me excited about my future career goals.

What advice do you have for other students seeking internship opportunities?

My best advice for future interns is to just get out there and apply for those internships. Getting out there and trying something new is the only way you will know if you enjoy doing something.