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Meet our international intern: Leah Shapiro

JET Education Services annually facilitates an internship programme with the University of Pennsylvania, USA. This year, our internship programme will be held remotely due to COVID-19.

JET has welcomed Leah Shapiro from the University of Pennsylvania, the United States as our international intern to learn alongside our JETSetters and make a meaningful contribution to our daily work. Tackling remote working has become a new kind of challenge in today’s virtual era, and while she is unable to travel to South Africa due to current travel restrictions and will not be working  in a traditional office environment, Leah intends to make the most of the experience.

Meet Leah

Leah is from a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the U.S. She is currently based in western Massachusetts, where her partner teaches, and she works part-time at a school that integrates high-level academics with mental health therapy. She has a Bachelor’s degree, with a double major in Neurobiology and Russian from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. Leah is currently working on her Master of Science in Education, majoring in International Educational Development.

We asked Leah:

What are you most passionate about and what projects will you be a part of?

I am most passionate about working with teenagers and young adults in education settings. Prior to starting my studies at the University of Pennsylvania, I worked with several different youth development programmes. I was consistently inspired by the potential that was unleashed in young people when they had access to quality education. Previously, I have worked in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, so I wanted to learn about a new part of the world. I also wanted to develop my monitoring and evaluation skills, and I heard from a previous JET intern and one of my professors that JET was the perfect place to learn from M&E experts. I will be primarily involved with the Jobs Fund and Anglo American South Africa (AASA) evaluation projects.

How do you feel about doing a remote internship?

I am very disappointed that I cannot be in South Africa right now. However, I am grateful that JET was willing to arrange a remote internship for me. It is not the same as being in the country, but I am still learning a lot. I was hoping to tick off a lot from my travel bucket list during my time in South Africa. I was looking forward to going on a safari, and doing lots of hiking in Cape Town, and I was excited about seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach. I will be working part-time until mid-August. Then I will be completing the final semester of my Master’s program.  If conditions permit, I hope to come to South Africa in January 2021 and resume my internship for a few months in person.

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