As the summer draws near, college students start to explore the possibilities of internships and job shadowing in the area. Valbona Bajrami, a soon-to-be-graduate at Sauk Valley Community College, is one of those students but will travel overseas to intern, teach and volunteer.
Valbona will live in the Izmir region of Turkey for two months as part of a “Teach & Travel Program” offered through the Federation of Balkan American Associations. During the first part of her experience, she will intern in two private hospitals in Istanbul. There she will receive a hands-on learning experience assisting doctors with patients, viewing surgeries and being a part of the medical experience. Following this internship, Valbona will go through intensive training to prepare to teach a 20 day, six days a week class in English at a private school. The last part of her time will be dedicated to volunteering through national programs such as the American Red Cross or local organizations in the area.
Valbona also had the option of internship at the National Institute of Health in Maryland this summer. She chose to study abroad in Turkey because of the cultural and educational experience. “I want to learn about the options I have in the medical field but also find out what I truly want to do,” she stated. “This experience will allow me to work with other people in different professions, improve my interpersonal skills and give me the opportunity to see my career choices in a different culture.”
She credits Sauk for this chance to experiment and explore new opportunities, especially the student support services’ TRiO program. “I would never know that internship opportunities existed if it were not for my advisor. He encouraged me to apply right now and not wait for the next summer.” Valbona found that by attending Sauk and being a part of this program she was able to decide what truly interested her (and for free as she also is a Sauk Scholar). “I feel like I did not waste time or money at SVCC. I found what I liked and disliked while working with outstanding instructors.”
After graduation, Valbona hopes to attend a four-year university such as University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Chicago or Northwestern and major in biology as she works toward medical school. At Sauk, she is involved in TRiO, student government, Phi Theta Kappa, the Association of Latin American Students and tutors in the Learning Assistance Center.
SVCC’s student support service’s TRiO program is designed to assist students to excel in academics and educational goals. The program provides extra support and encouragement for eligible students. It serves 200 SVCC students annually giving extra individual attention to participants’ academic, professional and overall goals. For more information on this program, contact TRiO’s office at 815-835-6268.