Rachel Landers at the Institute of International Education, Mexico City


I loved my classes at TC, but as I sat through summer school, I knew I wanted another international experience under my belt before hitting the job search. WIth two credits and an IP left to complete before I could graduate, I spent a few intensive days scouring the internet for whatever possibilities I could find. One caught my interest right away, but I knew that selling the relocation to my family and friends would be hard. The Institute of International Education’s Office for Latin America in Mexico City was hiring for a fall intern in the scholarships division and the EducationUSA division. I applied for the former and was accepted within several days. I was excited to have another opportunity to use my Spanish professionally and spend a few months in a sunny–and much cheaper–place.

Having spent less than 10 days in Mexico before in my life, I thought I would have trouble adjusting. Going to a city that dwarfs NYC in both number of people and square miles wasn’t easy, but my colleagues and the community I developed there made the transition much easier.

IIE-Mexico is a small office with only a small pool of employees divided between two buildings that house various US education entities: University of Arizona, the Fulbright Commission, the Department of Trade and Commerce, the US Embassy, and the like. I split my time in the Scholarships Division betwene several projects, initially. I worked with the NYU Abu Dhabi Outreach Officer on planning several of her trips abroad to promote NYUAD and attended several college fairs around the city with her, I conducted research on educational trends in Latin America for promotional pitches to corporate donors, and I organized a reception for a fellowship alumni group. This was just the first two months.

My main project while in Mexico was to develop, propose, and manage a scholarship program for ExxonMobil that would promote undergraduate research in the sciences and math. This involved creation of a proposal and budget that would be accepted by Exxon and turned into a viable program with various learning opportunities and financial benefits. Once it was presented to the university students we aimed to benefit, I gathered the applications, formed a selection committee, andĀ organized an interview day. Though I had to leave right after informing the students that they had been selected to receive the scholarship, being able to be a part of a process from start to somewhat of a finish was a great reward for me.

I send out internship notices for IIE-Mexico all the time, so be on the lookout on the SIE listserv!

Rachel graduated from the IED Master’s program in Februrary of 2012.Ā  She can be contacted at rml2150@tc.columbia.edu.


Meera Pathmarajah and Visions Global Empowerment

Check out this video about some of the work that Meera’s NGO does in India and Sri Lanka. Visions will celebrate its tenth anniversary next year!

To learn more about Visions, visit: http://visionsglobalempowerment.org/

Meera Pathmarajah is a doctoral candidate in International Education Policy.