This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Teddie Levenfiche, COL ’19


This was the answer to my first task as an intern in Congress of the Republic of Colombia – to
find out how many boxes of hidden weapons the FARC rebels were suspected to be in
possession of.

This summer, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work in Congress’ Second
Commission and in the office of Congressman Federico Hoyos Salazar, one of Colombia’s
youngest and most talented politicians, a man not just willing to embrace change, but someone
motivated to forge it. The Second Commission dealt with all things related to international
relations, including national security issues and trade deals. This involved working alongside top
army generals, economists and lawyers, and being exposed to the complex issues of a country
unfortunately still plagued with twin evils of corruption and war.

Being involved in the strategizing of negotiation and dispute settlement methods to end the war
with the FARC rebels, exposed me to problem-solving at the most crucial level. Immersing
myself in the details of Colombia’s Peace Process revealed to me a polarized political
environment where my views were constantly challenged. Colombia’s war with guerilla forces
and militias is one that has affected the lives of most, and continues to hinder the economic and
social progress of a country with filled such decent, generous, talented and welcoming people.
Nevertheless, I am certain that Colombia has a bright future, and the end to a torturous peace
process is near. I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a team of
talented and passionate professionals that dedicate each and every day working to improve the
lives of the Colombian people.

Having the opportunity to tour ‘Casa de Nariño’, Colombia’s presidential palace, while the
President was actually working upstairs, was definitely a highlight of my summer. Furthermore, I
was able to get involved in the many activities that Bogotá had to offer, as well travel to many of
the other regions within Colombia. This included visiting coffee plantations, taking salsa classes,
horseback riding, scuba diving, and much more.

I embraced and grew from the challenge of adapting to different values and customs that form
the foundations of a happy and vibrant Colombian culture. Having never been to South America
before this summer, and not knowing anyone else in Colombia before I arrived, I was definitely
nervous to accept this opportunity. However, reflecting on my experience, spending my summer
in Colombia was definitely one of my best decisions yet, and an experience that has significantly
contributed to my personal and professional development.

Colombia is a country that will forever hold a special place in my heart. This summer, I made
lifelong friends, memories, and held a dream internship in Colombia’s highest office. I am
incredibly grateful for the support from Career Services that I received in funding this
experience, and to my inspirational colleagues from whom I learnt so much.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.