[Department of Small Worlds] Swedish Serendipity
ACYPL, like all small nonprofits, relies on interns to support its work. Three times a year, we welcome 2-3 undergrads or recent graduates to our join team. Being an ACYPL internship is not just about making copies. Our interns work closely with the program officers supporting inbound and outbound exchanges, they also conduct research to prepare schedules for delegates, help the program officers with logistics, and attend meetings with the delegations while in DC.
Last spring, my daughter, Kelsey, was one of those interns, along with Klara Berggren, an exchange student from Sweden who was in a Northern Virginia Community College program for Swedish high school graduates. At the time Kelsey, a sophomore at the University of Maryland College Park, was considering studying abroad in Sweden, and Klara was applying for college. By the time the internship ended, Kelsey was committed to Uppsala University and Klara was waiting to hear where she’d be in the fall.
When Kelsey arrived in Uppsala for the fall semester she had a Facebook message of welcome from Klara. who is starting her freshman year.
Meet-ups with ACYPL alumni happen all over the world. It’s more than just a happy coincidence that our two ACYPL interns reunited in Sweden — it’s really just another version of the ACYPL story. We often get photos, tweets and Facebook posts from alums meeting up with one another even years after their exchange.
This kind of small world story is one of the things I enjoy most about working with our alumni. It’s exciting to know that we help create long-lasting relationships among people around the world, and it’s even better watching these relationships, like Kelsey’s and Klara’s, continue to bloom.
Shannon Billings is the CFO + Chief of Staff at ACYPL