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Introduction

My main motivation for setting up this blog has been to share the work of Hope International and my experiences with family, friends, and entering Humphrey students across the summer. My name is Jaquilyn. I just completed my first year of graduate studies at the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs. I am a Masters of Public Policy (MPP) student with concentrations in Advanced Policy Analysis and International Minority Human Rights. Driven in all things by my faith and my commitment to international social justice, I entered graduate studies in public policy determined to find a way to contribute to the shaping of policy, programs, and perhaps even law in a way that advanced the rights and well-being of those on the margins of an increasingly globalized society.

My interests and research revolve around the impact of foreign and international policy and law on repression and human rights violations among minority populations. I am specifically interested in how policy and law can be designed to ensure the basic economic rights of minority women and children in developing nations. What I have learned and experienced this past year far surpasses what I anticipated. This summer promises to stretch my learning and experience even farther. I've been given the opportunity to work with Hope International, a Christian INGO that concentrates on microfinance programs for holistic and sustainable poverty alleviation.

Hope International (www.hopeinternational.org), known as Nadiya in the Ukraine, is the largest microfinance institution in the Ukraine. I will be working with Hope's Eastern European Regional Director, Paul Marty, to foster Hope's partnership with Kiva (www.kiva.org) in order to facilitate the work of both organizations throughout the Ukraine. Together, these organizations are committed to ensuring the basic economic rights of those marginalized in the Ukranian economy.

Hope International was, beyond question, the organization I wanted to work with above all. However, when I first entered my studies, it seemed overwhelming to secure both the internship opportunity and the funding to support an unpaid internship with Hope. Above anything, I knew it was important to find a good overall match: an internship that provided the organization with an intern skilled in the areas they needed, and one that would provide me the opportunity to contribute my strengths and develop skills in my weaker areas. I began the process for securing both almost immediately in the fall. I applied not only to Hope, but to a number of Christian organizations specializing in microfinance. I also applied to the Foundation for Sustainable Development for a faith-based microfinance internship. I knew that I wanted an internship that combined all of my commitments and strengths, so I applied to all positions that matched. I also began researching funding opportunities early in the fall and kept track of upcoming deadlines for funding opportunities. For students searching for funded international internships, I would pass along the advice given to me by the 2007 graduating class: begin the process early, and talk to career services (Martha Krohn), faculty, and second years to help you in the process.

All that said, the process is not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. Applying broadly provided me with a number of opportunities, and by keeping a mind to the internship and funding throughout the year, I was able to secure funding for the internship as well. I leave tomorrow and look forward to sharing my experiences of the summer with you!