Moving across the United States from Texas—to a new place, a new home, new friends—all on my own, was exciting yet frightening at the same time. Luckily, I moved into a small apartment with six roommates from across North America who are also starting their journeys, albeit in a different field (politics) than my own path in economic development. What I thought would be a curse, living with six girls in a three bedroom apartment, ended up being a blessing in disguise. We’ve learned how to live in this busy city together, from walking just about everywhere, fighting to get on the metro, visiting nearly every museum and historic site possible, and even partaking in a few Beyoncé dance classes along the way.
My time with Grameen Foundation has been immensely rewarding from the beginning. My first day at my first internship was a whirlwind experience. I learned more that day than I thought I could possibly handle. But, I survived. Then came the next day, and I survived that one too. I don’t think it would have been possible without such a supportive manager and Grameen Foundation’s inspiring staff. Every day, I became more and more confident in my skills and capabilities. I feel guided without being micro-managed, which gives me some wiggle room to grow. And with increasingly challenging projects assigned to me, each requiring me to take on more ownership and responsibility, I’m simultaneously improving my self–confidence and strengthening my purpose here. My responsibilities range from organizing events and sending out certificates of appreciation, to in-depth research, to creating a weekly newsletter, Intern to Intern, which includes events, helpful career development articles, and intern bios. I’m most proud of developing the Grameen and Yunus Organization Network At-a-Glance document, a resource that includes profiles of Grameen-affiliated organizations from around the world that is now available on the Grameen Foundation website for anyone to use as reference. This project also gave me an opportunity to work closely with Grameen Foundation's CEO Alex Counts, an unparalleled experience.
Being a part of Grameen Foundation has been a dream of mine ever since I was able to see, first-hand, how GF’s services helped local women in India improve their livelihoods and strengthen their communities. Occasionally, I catch myself in awe as I realize that I am now a part of this organization that made such an impact on me during my time in India. My experience interning here ended up being more than I bargained for—not only do I get to learn from the staff of an organization that I whole-heartedly admire and respect, but I’ve also gained priceless friendships, knowledge, and experiences while in D.C. and at Grameen Foundation.
Alexis Petropoulos has been working at Grameen Foundation as a Bankers without Borders Intern since September 2014. Learn more about the Grameen Foundation Internship Program and apply for a Summer 2015 Internship here!