An Intern’s Impression of Week 1 at APIOPA

My name is Kit Lee. I am 19, and I have just finished my freshman year in college. In the past, I have participated in protests and visited legislators’ offices, but this is the first time I have interned for an organization that is deeply involved in social and environmental justice work.

I remember my first week at APIOPA. It was quite daunting because everything seemed to move at a fast pace, and everyone in the APIOPA office seemed to know what they were doing and what they were going to do. By the second day at my internship, APIOPA had a staff meeting where I tried to absorb as much information as possible. Frankly though, I felt like I was on an island of novicehood. Even the other new intern seemed to know which direction she was heading.’

I think I could have remained in this mindset of solitude if I were anywhere else. But I was here, at APIOPA, where the staff fosters a warm and inclusive environment. This encouraged me to open up honestly to Scott, my supervisor, about how I was feeling. After hearing my concerns, he scheduled a “check-in” meeting in the same week, where we extensively discussed my goals during my 10-week tenure at APIOPA. Finally, I began to have a firm grasp on what I wanted to accomplish at APIOPA.

During this very productive meeting, I decided that I want to helm a research project that would investigate and reveal the healthcare accessibility for undocumented Koreans in Koreatown. The undocumented immigrant struggle is one that is personal to me, and after divulging that information to Scott, he helped me find the intersection between the issue of immigrant rights and healthcare. I hope to uncover data that is meaningful not only for academics who may refer to it in the future, but for undocumented Koreans like me, who are frequently underrepresented, even within the API community.

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