Liberal arts & sciences at work: Elizabeth Orr

Hometown: Westwood, KS

Majors: Global & international studies and French, minor in economics

Internship title and organization: Events Intern at the International Relations Council

What were your responsibilities during your internship? I help coordinate the logistics and execution of a variety of events and programs that engage community members in international affairs. I am also responsible for conducting researching and developing resources that will facilitate event planning in the future.

What was your favorite part(s) of the internship? My favorite part of the internship has been the opportunity to attend and assist with events and programs. These programs, such as lectures on international relations, panels regarding global affairs, and educational workshops, are interesting from an international academic perspective and have given me the opportunity to learn how to successfully execute a professional event as well. Participating has also given me the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of people. Overall, I have loved being able to help promote global awareness in the Kansas City community.

What did you gain from the experience that will be valuable to you in the future? I have developed a greater understanding of how one can bring a knowledge of and a passion for global affairs to a professional setting. I have also obtained firsthand experience in the nonprofit sector and an understanding of the operations of a mission-driven organization. Finally, I have gained valuable professional event planning experience in this setting, as well.

How did you find out about this internship? I found out about this internship and the International Relations Council through KU’s Global & International Studies Program. Through further research, I found the specific internship for which I was best suited.

What advice would you give students who are considering an internship? I would advise any student considering an internship to apply! Do some research about the organization and find what about it suits your interests and abilities. There is nothing to lose from applying, and everything to gain.

Why did you choose your majors/minors? An interest in international affairs and a lifelong love of travel inspired me to learn more about the world and prompted me to initially choose to major in global & international studies. This major gave me the opportunity to take a variety of courses that offer different perspectives about our globalized world. My study abroad experience in Angers, France, prompted me to add French as a second major. Finally, after having taken some introductory courses, I developed an interest in economics, so I chose to add economics as a minor, as well.

KU Study Abroad Office can help you study spend the semester in Angers, France, studying French language, literature and civilization at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest.

What do you plan to do next? This year, I plan to do research for an Honors Capstone for my Global & International Studies degree as well as write an Honors Thesis in French. Following graduation, I plan to seek an internationally-focused job before likely attending graduate school in the future. In the long term, I hope to work towards an international career.

 What do you like best about studying in the College? The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at KU has given me the opportunity to take a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses that have broadened my worldview and perspectives. I have been very fortunate to have knowledgeable and devoted professors who have shaped my collegiate experience, as well.

My favorite KU memory is… While it is too difficult to choose just one favorite memory, KU has given me a number of fantastic opportunities. From serving as an executive officer in Alpha Gamma Delta to singing in one of KU’s choirs to starting the KU French Club, KU’s broad spectrum of networks has been extremely influential in my college experience. Additionally, though I was not in Lawrence, studying abroad has been my favorite experience that KU has provided me. My semester in Angers, France, not only taught me fluency in the French language and an ability to adapt to new situations in foreign countries, but gave me lifelong memories and relationships.

 The best advice I ever got: 

A high school teacher once told me that we are all born with blinders that prevent us from being able to fully see and communicate with the world. She advised us to learn foreign languages and learn about other parts of the world to open our blinders and give ourselves the ability to communicate with and understand a greater portion of the world. Ever since then, I have striven to open my own personal blinders to the world through my education and experiences.