Rebecca Younker (Class of 2014): “My summer in Dublin has been an entirely life-altering experience. When I departed from Kansas City in May, I was certain that this internship would help me figure out what I want to do with my life in relation to my career. I needed to decide where my best placement in graduate school would be based on my experiences in Ireland. I knew that I wanted to work in a museum, but I did not know where I wanted to make that contribution.
The Collections Resource Centre (CRC) is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland which is located in Swords, several kilometers outside of Dublin. While my internship was not precisely what I expected, it has been extremely gratifying. I was exposed to the behind-the-scenes worlds of documentation, conservation, registration, and exhibition design. I was allowed to shadow various professionals and learn what their jobs entail. The director of the CRC was great about arranging trips to observe what happens in all branches of the museum. That was especially helpful for me as I was still deciding what I want to do as a career. I am currently in the process of applying to Graduate programs at Arizona State University, John F. Kennedy University, and Kansas University. The number of schools in the U.S. that offer Museum Studies as a Master’s degree are few and far between, so luckily the options are somewhat limited for me. I am planning on concentrating on Collections Management within the degree program. Similarly to my internship, I am also hoping to have broad training and experience in other aspects of the museum. Although I believe that I want to pursue Collections Management, I realize that people change jobs several times over the course of their lives. I do not want to be stuck in an extremely specialized field with nowhere to go.
I have learned many skills this summer, such as proper handling of objects, database entry, and procedures for transport/storage. Without this internship I would not have had a broad exposure to the world of museums. If I had been placed in a museum itself (like the Museum of Archaeology as I had originally hoped) I doubt that my experiences would have been as varied or as helpful. This time on my own has also allowed me to be more vocal. In general I am fairly shy and quiet. This summer has made me realize that I do not need to be afraid to speak up in order to make things happen in my life. Although it sounds cliché, I would not trade this summer for anything and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Internships abroad are highly underrated and are well worth the expense.
Rebecca Younker is a senior at Avila University double majoring in History and Religious Studies & Philosophy with a Women and Gender Studies minor. Rebecca is also an active member of campus ministry as a community leader. When asked by her advisor last semester what she was planning to do after graduation in May, Rebecca was uncertain. She was toying with the idea of starting work at a museum or going to graduate school but was uncertain about what type of museum she would want to work at or further her education for. Her advisor suggested that she look for an internship and with that Rebecca began her journey of internship searching.
Rebecca was looking at local internship sites and nothing exactly stood out to her so she began looking at possibilities overseas. She has been to Spain, France, and Italy with her family, and was in Berlin last fall with Avila’s Music and Politics travel course and absolutely loved every experience. She thought back on her memories and asked herself, “If being overseas made me so happy, why wouldn’t I just intern abroad!” With that, a simple Google search led her to where she is today.
Rebecca found Global Experiences, a study/intern abroad agency, online and in as little as 2 weeks, she had applied and been accepted to intern at a museum in Dublin. When Rebecca first showed interest in Global Experiences they had a 1-hour Q&A telephone session with her, which allowed them to understand exactly what she was looking for. Following the call, they found an internship that matched her needs and she sent in her application, which required a cover letter, resume, and goals for the internship. Once accepted, she was assigned a program advisor who will be helping her prior and during the internship. Rebecca plans to start on June 7 for two months.
When asked about the internship expectations, Rebecca is hoping to get experience working in a bigger institution. She is also hoping to get an idea of what happens behind the scenes in a museum and what exactly is needed in order for a museum to run efficiently. Lastly, she is hoping that this internship gives her an idea of what she would like to study in graduate school because Master’s programs in Museum Studies are very specific. When asked what advice she would give to anyone interested in interning abroad, she suggests doing it before you graduate that way you can use student loans and/or use it towards academic credit. Also, she says “don’t sell yourself short, think big.”