Because the Twin Cities is such a great place for finding internships of all kinds, most Macalester students get their work experience close to campus. But a few students each year choose to complete their internships in more distant locales.
Vincent Siegerink ’14 (Utrecht, Netherlands), an economics and studio art major interested in food policy and international development, spent the summer in Sao Paolo, Brazil, working with international commodity trading company ED&F MAN. The company buys raw goods such as sugar and coffee from Brazil to sell to the world market, exporting 10 percent of Brazil’s sugar.
Siegerink found it interesting to work in a major corporation after discussing power and global capitalism in classes at Mac, he says. While interning at ED&F MAN, he thought critically about the company’s role in Sao Paolo and the global food market. “Macalester makes you think differently, to look at society from a bird’s eye view,” says Siegerink. “It makes you ask, what impact does this have on society? What niche am I situated in?”
Although fascinating to experience the dynamics of a corporation, the internship made him realize he wants a different sort of career in the global food market, Siegerink says.
He was proudest of the connections and community he built within both the office and the Sao Paolo community. He even learned some Portuguese along the way, and says that by the end of his internship he no longer felt like a foreigner. Siegerink also fell in love with the liveliness of Sao Paolo. “You think New York never sleeps? No. Sao Paolo is the city that truly never sleeps.”
Across the Atlantic, Eleanor Trenary ’13 (Oak Park, Ill.) had a very different internship experience at the Musee d’Archaeologie Rabat in Morocco. She worked there last spring semester while on a study abroad program, digitizing archaeological records formerly found only on note cards. The internship was arranged by her study abroad program, which had placed other students there. As a classics and archaeology major with a religious studies minor, Trenary was in her element working in the museum.
Her coworkers, she says, were very willing to talk with her and passionate about history. The museum’s general manager even opened the glass cases and instructed Trenary to hold the items and “take a closer look,” something that rarely happens in U.S. museums.
The location of his European internship was quite familiar to Benas Klastaitis ’15 (Šiauliai, Lithuania), who worked last summer in a small bank in his hometown. This entrepreneurial economics major’s dream is to start his own business back home. Šiaulių bankas, site of his internship, is a fairly risk averse place, he says. Making financial investments, especially in stocks, is an underdeveloped concept in Lithuania, says Klastaitis, who would like to open a brokership when he moves home following graduation.
Although the business culture in Lithuania is quite different from that of the U.S., he says, it was challenging and rewarding to apply skills he’d gained in Macalester classes such as Capital Markets and Financial Accounting to a real-life business setting.
Both Siegerink and Klastaitis are among Macalester's Davis United World College Scholars.