When I first started interning at VOA, I was excited to join a team that I had heard so many great things about. Knowing many previous interns, they all spoke so highly of the internship program and the people at VOA. I soon learned that my limited knowledge of what VOA does was about to expand greatly.
I had heard of VOA first from my parents. They grew up in India and talked about how they listened to VOA's English-Language Radio Service to stay updated on current events and news. It was a huge staple in their lives and a reliable source of information for them. It wasn't until I started interning with public relations and listening to the VOA Studio Tour that I realized the wide expanse of VOA's reach in the world. Not only does VOA have news on outlets other than radios, but they broadcast in 47 languages worldwide and focus on regions that have limited news outreach.
Through my training of the VOA Studio Tour, I learned these facts and so much more about VOA's history. I was excited to share the unique formation and mission of VOA. However, just as my tour training was coming to a conclusion, the Coronavirus crisis began to escalate and the in-person portion of my internship drew to a close. I was extremely disappointed that I wouldn't be able to go into VOA for my internship anymore but was elated to be able to move my internship online for the rest of the semester. Due to the nature of the work, many interns were unfortunately unable to continue their semester. I was fortunate to be able to continue my experience and help to the team.
As I moved online and remote, most of my responsibilities stayed the same. I was helping draft and edit evergreen content for social media, collecting photos for the VOA Calendar, and helping research strategies for the new VOA LinkedIn page. These experiences helped me learn an immense amount about PR and PR Writing. I also learned how to communicate and coordinate with people in such a huge organization. I have gained so many skills from my time in VOA and I know that moving forward these tools will help me prepare for working in communications and PR.
Despite having my experience cut short and moved remote halfway through my internship, my time at VOA was full of incredible learning experiences. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to join such an amazing organization and for all of the people who were kind, encouraging, and patient throughout my internship. As I move forward through my career, I know that I will look back on this time at VOA very positively and will take the skills I learned with me.
Future Plans: After I graduate from American University, I hope to work in political communications in Washington, DC for nonprofit and lobby groups that fight for social and civil rights. I also hope to pursue a Master's degree in Political Communication.
About Amrutha: I am a third-year student at American University majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communication with a minor in Political Science. I have worked in the leadership of our on-campus speakers bureau, the Kennedy Political Union, for two years, have been an Orientation Leader, an AU Ambassador and currently serve on the leadership of my sorority Phi Sigma Sigma