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Learning at World Learning

August 1, 2013

A smiling woman with glassesKatie Donahue is completing her Graduate Degree this fall. She is earning a Graduate Degree in Human Development and Leadership with a concentration in International Education Administration. She has previously studied abroad during the summer of 2010 in Seville Spain and had a great experience, which convinced her to pursue a master’s degree in International Education Administration. After she earns her degree, Ms. Donahue hopes to work for either a university in a study abroad office or hopefully work for a study abroad organization. She wants to assist other students with disabilities to study abroad.  She believes that with determination and the right people to help them along their journey, they, too, will be able to study abroad!  She recently completed her Youth in Development (YiD) internship at World Learning, which works to empower people and strengthen institutions through education, exchange, and development programs. 

The YiD internship program, launched this year, brought its first cohort of seven interns to Washington, DC, this summer to complete internships at various international organizations in the Washington DC.  The YiD program is coordinated by the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) with funding support from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF).  All interns are students with various disabilities from across the United States who share a commitment to careers in the fields of international development or international affairs.  In this blog post, Katie looks back at her internship experience at World Learning.

Connect with Katie Donahue via her LinkedIn profile at

During my internship with USICD and World Learning I have had the pleasure of participating in many diverse events. I have learned about the CRPD and the importance of why it needs to be ratified in the U.S. I and the other interns at USICD have gotten to meet with organizations like Handicap International, UNICEF, USAID, and the U.S. State Department. During meetings with these organizations I and others have devoted our time and dedication in learning more about disability rights, the importance of advocating for ourselves and others.  I have had the opportunity to meet with people that done amazing work we had the opportunity of meeting staff from UNICEF, USAID, and Judy Heumann who is well known for disability rights and advocacy work. She  is the Special Advisor of International Disability Rights with the U.S. State Department here is Washington D.C. Meeting with numerous organizations has allowed for discussion in issued related to people with disabilities, changes they needed to made and our vision for the future.

Through my experience at World Learning I have had the opportunity to meet with World Learning staff that have been a part of international disability projects such as the Wheelchair Fund World Learn provides wheelchairs for people with disabilities worldwide.  I have also meet with Deanna Wreithermier the Program Officer of Flex program which is a one year international exchange program for high school schools students from the Eurasia, Ukraine, Belorussia, and many other Eastern Europe countries. Recently Deanna and her staff hosted students with disabilities in their FLEX program. They partnered with MIUSA to get training and resources on assisting students with disabilities during the students study abroad experience in the United States.

The Civil Society and Governance unit here at World Learning does many international development programs related to civil, health, education, human rights and democracy. I had the chance to participate in meetings for the Cisco Networking Academies and the Entrepreneurship program for four high schools located in the Tijuana, Ciudad Jerez, and Monterrey. I was able to review the Performance Management Plan, One Year Work plan for the Cisco/USAID Networking Academies and Entrepreneurship program, as well as the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan. Thus far this program has had 150 participants in both programs total. The participants have been able to take courses related to computer design and networking. Participants that have participated in the Entrepreneurship program have been able to take courses in budgeting, making a business plan, and marketing, and Growing your Business.

I have learned a lot about international development programs, partnerships and the importance of getting funding for programs and being a part of the implementation process, writing quarterly reports and continue being a part of international development programs in order to improve education, civil society, governance and democracy in our global society.

This internship experience has shown me the type of organization I would like to work for in the future. World learning has many great organizational values that will continue to impact our global society.

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