Interview with Danielle Sleeper, Melibee Global Intern

Danielle Sleeper, Melibee Intern

I am grateful for having a dynamic and dedicated team of virtual interns here at Melibee Global and MelibeeU.  Today you will meet my senior intern, Danielle Sleeper.  She is a gem and you’ll quickly see why! Danielle will be at the Forum on Education Abroad conference if you’d like to learn more about her and/or Melibee.

Melibee:    Danielle, introduce yourself in 3 sentences or less!

DS:  My name is Danielle Sleeper and I am a professional student, now pursuing a Masters in International Communication at American University in Washington, DC. My personal experience studying, working and traveling throughout East Asia changed my way of thinking, and I returned to the U.S. committed to all things related to global education and study abroad. In my spare time, I am an obsessive yogini, cruciverbalist and Jeopardy! enthusiast.

Melibee: What inspired you to reply to the Melibee call for interns?

DS:  At the time, I had been looking for ways to volunteer and meet more people involved with international education. After searching through the Melibee website, I quickly determined that this was an organization I would like to intern for. I suppose I was drawn to it because it is a new organization and I am a sucker for social entrepreneurship. I admired the innovation and the way Melibee was clearly doing things differently—but mostly I liked the idea that I could directly make a difference and not be that intern shuffling files around.  I have not been disappointed.

Melibee: What have you enjoyed learning most from this experience?

DS: Too many things to choose a “most”!

It sounds kind of Sesame Street, but through interning with Melibee I have witnessed what can happen when you put your mind to it. Enterprises do not develop overnight—you need to be relentless, you need to be passionate, and you need to be optimistic. And sure, people can tell you that it isn’t going to be easy all they want, but I would have never truly understood the realities of managing a start-up had it not been for this internship. Truly, it is empowering to see what can be done to bridge social entrepreneurship with my passion– international education.  I am happy to say that I have contributed to a small part of it.

Also, I should mention that it has also been a joy to learn about and explore different career opportunities in the field. As an intern, I have conducted research for the Speaker Series and for workshop resource packets.  Consequently, I have learned a ton about job prospects in the field, networking, conferences, university programs, and global education organizations. I am positive this will only be of benefit to me once I kick my impending job search into high-gear.

Finally, one event that really struck me as a learning experience was meeting with one of the Melibee speaker series professionals.  I had the pleasure of having dinner with Nury Turkel and learned more about China and the situation with Uyghur population out west in three hours than I ever had living in China for over year. The conversation opened my eyes to an extreme social injustice in the world, and I have since been inspired to explore similar issues in my studies at school. Book him for your next keynote event and you will not be disappointed (shameless plug).

Melibee: What are your future plans in international education?

DS: After the completion of my master’s degree this summer,  I hope to secure a job designing, managing, and facilitating exchange programs. Ideally, I will have the opportunity to interact with students and travel. In the long term, I will one day be president of an international education organization.

Melibee: What advice would you give to others who are interested in entering the field?

DS: Intern with Melibee! Haha—but seriously, if don’t at least volunteer with Missy, make sure to connect with her. She has been an incredible mentor and role model to me, and is always willing to lend her wisdom and guidance. One of the informational interviews she set up for me and another intern has also led to a string of other opportunities. And if you don’t connect with Missy, go out there and find a mentor in the field!

Finally, I would also recommend participating in one of the MelibeeU workshops. You will be able to gain skills and knowledge, as well as explore further whether international education is right for you.

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You can connect with Danielle via LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/daniellesleeper