Erica Adkins: Argentina Adventure
November 21, 2011
An international business and Spanish double major in the ASU Honors Program, Adkins wanted to do an internship in South America. Helping point her in the right direction was Dr. Christine Muelsch in the ASU Center for International Studies, who introduced Adkins to the Comision de Intercambio Educativo (COIN-ED) intercultural exchange organization.
“COIN-ED is a program that sponsors volunteer work, internships and classes all through Latin America and Spain,” Adkins said. “I signed up through their website and had an advisor that went through everything with me. I even got to pick the company I interned with.”
The internship Adkins chose was in Argentina as a marketing publicist for EduArgentina helping recruit college students through its Misión Académica.
“EduArgentina has a mission to bring in students from other Latin American countries to Buenos Aires for about a week,” Adkins said. “They have the students look at several universities and graduate schools. The students also get to experience the culture and get to visit successful businesses that originated in Argentina.”
“The goal,” she added, “is to let the students know that there are good educational opportunities in Argentina, as well as a successful economy.”
Adkins’ internship was made possible through the Alvin and Patricia New Honors Program Enhancement Fund and the Center for International Studies.
Despite having eight years of Spanish language instruction, Adkins still got quite a culture shock when she arrived in Buenos Aires.
“When I first got there, I couldn’t understand anything they were saying,” Adkins said. “The dialect was quite different, so my duties at first were very miniscule, like figuring out their printer and typing a couple of documents.”
So, it was back to class for Adkins, who soon sufficiently mastered the local dialect enough to take on more important duties for EduArgentina.
“I got to read through a proposal for their academic mission, which is what brings the students in,” Adkins said. “I got to give them a few ideas and do some critiques. I gave them some ideas about where the students could go, places they could take them to see, and they actually implemented some of my ideas.”
“Toward the end of the internship,” she added, “They asked me to look at two different websites they had and compile them together to make them more user friendly. So, I did a rough draft of a new website, and my boss really liked it. That was probably my favorite project.”
But, it was not all work for Adkins. There was a little fun mixed in as well.
“I got to take classes so I could communicate better,” she said. “I also got to go on the COIN-ED tours to historical places in Buenos Aires. I wanted to travel, so I went to Uruguay and spent a day there. I also went to Iguazu, which has these beautiful waterfalls in a national park, and I went to Mendoza, where I got to do wine tastings and go on a mountain trek. I also got to see the Buenos Aires nightlife, which is much different than here.”
Adkins’ internship was made possible through the Alvin and Patricia New Honors Program Enhancement Fund and the Center for International Studies (CIS).
“I honestly wouldn’t have been able to do the internship without the support of the Honors Program and the CIS,” Adkins said. “They were able to provide me with the funding I needed for that wonderful opportunity.”
And, the internship is not the only ASU opportunity Adkins has taken advantage of. She has also twice gone on summer study abroad trips through the CIS, to Russia in 2008 and to Costa Rica in 2010.
Back here at home, in addition to her membership in the Honors Program, Adkins is also vice president of professional activities for the Delta Sigma Pi co-ed business fraternity and works part-time for Fortune Energy. In her limited spare time she can normally be found studying, though she does periodically manage to squeeze in some indoor soccer games.
Scheduled to graduate in May of 2012, Adkins plans to go on to graduate school with the ultimate goal of working for an oil and gas company with a focus on promoting the industry in Latin America.