Internship Interview: Puan Maharani

In Internship Interviews, MA Multilingualism’s students give us insight into what their placement is like! In today’s blog, Puan Maharani (25) talks about her internship at the Red Cross in the Hague.

“Hi! my name is Puan. Before majoring in Multilingualism, I studied English Literature in Indonesia and worked in Jakarta for a bit at an Erasmus training center. I’ve lived in Leeuwarden for the first part of the master’s, where I was drawn to the diverse, international environment and the amount of personal support I received from the lecturers. Eventually I decided to move to the Hague for my internship. I’m enjoying the city so far, it’s a real once-in-a-lifetime experience!”

Where are you taking your internship?

“I’m doing an internship at the Red Cross in the Hague, at one of the ten multilingual helpdesks. There’s helpdesks for Chinese, Polish and Spanish for example. My task is helping the research team in moving the data from the Chinese program to an online environment by providing descriptions and translations.”

What does a typical day at your internship look like?

“I go to the office every Thursday. During the rest of the week, I work from home or from a café. I come in around 10:00 to start my tasks for the day, which are usually planned out a week before. Around noon, I have lunch together with my colleagues while we chat for a bit. There’s a very friendly and international atmosphere in the office. Until I finish at around 17:00, I work on expanding the Chinese helpdesk. We, for example, find that a lot of Chinese speaking people in the Netherlands want to receive more detailed medical information, concerning vaccinations for example. I translate and describe their requests so that they receive adequate help.”

How are you finding your internship so far?

“I like the experience a lot! A while ago I got to help out at the Giro 555 helpdesk to send financial means to Ukraine. It was amazing to see so many volunteers working hard and helping out. I found the diversity and helpfulness of the team inspirational.”

What are your plans for the rest of the internship?

“I’m now working on my thesis. I aim to study the language barriers that Indonesian speaking people in the Netherlands experience. To sketch out the situation, I’m interviewing members of the Indonesian Immigrant Workers Union. At the moment, the Red Cross doesn’t have a helpdesk for Indonesian yet, but I hope and expect that my research will help setting one up. The head of the organisation is enthusiastic about my plans, it would be a huge step!”