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Internships

Hello everyone out there in the virtual world. I have not written in this blog in a few weeks now, how I have missed it. I will only sadly be in D.C for only a few more weeks and then back to reality in Michigan. It has been a great experience thus far. This week’s advice has to do with your internship. Whether it is a nonprofit, federal agency, or think-tank, remember there were other students that applied for that same internship.  The internship will shine on your resume and be a tipping point in your favor in the future. Do not be discouraged that this may not be the dream internship, but be thankful that you were accepted. However, it is a challenge to balance out the internship and attend the events that interest you the most. Also these events may be the best way to network and make those crucial connections. I would not suggest not telling your internship a lie; however simply ask if you can make up the time at a later time. Remember, if you do not ask you will never know the outcome. CFGU was able to provide us with the scholarship money to sponsor us, the least we can do is make the best out of our internship and the events and keep up to date with the other interns even after we leave. Next week is our wonderful reception to honor the 20 CFGU students that were accepted into the program and what better place than having it in a Congressional building.

An American Perspective

 

Another week is gone by and we are heading into the holiday break. Many words of wisdom were learned this past weekend when we met with our dear Director, Munir Moon. Mr. Moon is truly a great humble man that does not want the credit for the founding and hard work put into starting this organization, but deserves the credit. Many key points were addressed and should be re-said. First, it is important we promote this organization to provide the tools needed to have future leaders. However, we happen to people that practice Islam.

What is a Muslim American? This is not an easy question to answer because there is not one absolute representation that I can state. We come from different communities that adhere to certain cultures and values. However, the main important thing is we are Americans. Many of us in this program were born in the US and this is our home. Even if you were not born here or have not lived here that long you are slowly becoming assimilated. The Middle East or South East Asia is a home in sense of our ancestors. If you return back to your roots, you will probably not feel fully comfortable being around people that are from the same background but act different. For example, being a Lebanese in America is totally a different experience than being a Lebanese in Lebanon.

Islam is not only about praying. It is about being humble and kind to others. Many Americans believe that Muslims are foreign people. We need to address our values through our actions. This is our chance to PR better! However, Washington DC definitely can get your head in terms of your attitude. After awhile this opportunity could get to you that you may think your better than your friends and colleagues. Well do not let that happen. I made a promise to myself that I will appreciate all the opportunities that happen to me and continue to stay humble and not gain a big ego.

Washington D.C. is our temporary home right now. We will look back after a few months and see what we have accomplished. Some people will miss it; others will be glad to be home and never want to come back. For some of you like me, this will become my new home and for others it will not be but that’s okay.  CFGU is not forcing you to move here. We need to be more engaged as American Muslims to lead by example and this opportunity definitely will help us achieve that.

Networking

This is my third week in Washington D.C. Work from 9-5, homework from class, and program events can be quite hard to balance. It is not about time management but finding that life balance. How do you gain the most from this experience? Well CFGU has provided quite a mixture of several of events that all have one thing in common: networking. Networking you may not see it as an integral part of the program and in fact you may find it scary because you do not know what to say, but peer coaching could definitely help. CFGU is wonderful program because we are like a huge family that is supporting each other. Do not be afraid to ask anyone for networking tips or just advice in general. It is not about being here for 10 weeks and then never talking to your colleagues again. This experience should provide friendships that could last through your career and lifetime. Trust me, you will return back home wishing you have just maybe networked with that person from several events that CFGU has provided. So far my networking experiences have been fantastic. I even talk to speakers that may not necessarily be concentrated in the area I am going into but making that connection can help you make connections with others they may know. This weekend will be an important part of CFGU when we finally meet Munir Moon. This will be your biggest contact indeed and just remember he is only here to help you and make you a stronger person than you already are.

 

Until next time!

 

Anton Attard

Many doors opening

Experiences of a lifetime

Preparing to be in DC for the whole summer was an exciting thought. I never thought I could be part of something such like this program. At first I had so much going through my mind before arriving: making new friends, networking, time management, and important of all, getting an internship. It took awhile for me to get an internship but it patience paid off. When I arrived in DC the first night it was already a bad experience but it was out of my reach. Things started turning around when I arrived in the new RAF building the first day at TWC; met new people and met some of CFGU students at orientation. What a great mix of people going into all different things that ranges from science, government, non-profit, and medicine.

CFGU has brought a range of young leader to DC from all over the country from the west coast of California to the east coast of Boston. So far the experiences have been great but have also been exhausting; getting used to waking up every morning for work, getting used to the metro, and also attending as many events as possible to get the whole experience of DC. I suggest people who are interested in being part of CFGU next year to sit down with your parents and tell them how beneficial this organization is to the Muslim community. This will help make your resume more competitive against other students and besides you will have a great time in DC with a fantastic group of people. That is all for now until next time.

Anton