This internship has taught me many unexpected lessons. I am a Social Anthropology major, and coming to take this advocacy communications internship I did not really expect to really quite connect my academic training to my highly politicalized internship work. Yet as my anthro professors always say, anthropology is really about everything and you can find the anthropological question in almost all social phenomenon. So, the anthropologist in me found something highly interesting in my internship work.
I realized in my assignments, working with first-generation Chinese immigrants on the social app WeChat, have allowed me to peak into how complex a social issue this is. First gen Chinese immigrants, come to the United States with the habit of using WeChat exclusively, become indoctrinated with certain political beliefs, sometimes based mostly on “alternative facts.” The information in WeChat is largely short of fact-checking, probably because of the language barrier and the marginalization of the users. Yet little research has been done to study how such political education and mobilization is carried out, and how we can help change or improve it. I know for the longest time that I am interested in academia and particularly social research, so this internship has actually opened my eyes to some potential topic for my proposed doctoral research. Although in the far future, I wouldn’t directly be taking the same role as a communications intern with a nonprofit, this insight has connected to my academic training and future academic plans. I would say that this internship has encouraged me to remain passionate about the cause of civil rights and the protection of minority groups, but also helps me to find a new route to approach it.