August 24, 2016

Interning in India: My summer with the Akshaya Patra Foundation

This past year Claremont McKenna College rising senior and Earl Woods Scholar Alicia Frausto had the unique experience of living and learning in four different countries. While each locale shaped Frausto in many different ways, today she shares details about her summer internship in Bangalore, India. The months she spent as a communications intern at the Akshaya Patra Foundation not only broadened her skill set, but gave Frausto personal confirmation to continue to follow through with her passion of studying international education reform. 

This past academic year has been one of the most life-changing years of my life. I have lived in four different countries — Colombia, Ecuador, France and India — over the course of a year and have grown a lot as a person. I first began my adventures abroad last summer in Colombia interning at Fundacion Escuela Nueva, a nonprofit focused on reforming rural education. My internship was followed by a study-abroad semester in France and a semester in Ecuador. My yearlong journey concluded in India. 

This summer I interned at the Akshaya Patra Foundation in Bangalore, India. This was my first time visiting India, and the location was an integral part of my internship experience. I worked as a communications intern at the foundation, and the majority of my work was within this department. During my time at Akshaya Patra, I developed skills as a leader, faced various challenges and reflected on my future career goals. 

I was able to have a firsthand look at the different roles within the organization. As the largest nonprofit meal supplier in India, there is a structural foundation of people leading the success of this organization. I met the CEO and the heads of the different departments. I learned that communication is a key component of good leadership, and this organization taught me that face-to-face communication is especially effective. I researched the most successful social media campaigns in the past five years. Through this research, I was able to compile a case study showing the methods that were used to design high-impact social media campaigns.

I am convinced that I want to continue studying international education reform. Education in developing countries continues to fascinate me, and working at the Akshaya Patra Foundation has reinforced my passion for working in the nonprofit sector. I was able to see the importance of every aspect of the nonprofit organization in bringing smiles to children in India. 

Living abroad for an extended amount of time has shaped and influenced me for the better. I made friends from around the world and have had the privilege to call places “home.” I have a greater sense of who I am as an individual and the role I play in making the world a better place. I developed a strong desire to continue traveling, and although I am still readjusting to life in the U.S., I am excited to see where I will go next.

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.