Intern Spotlight: Amber Spalek

Learning Life’s student interns this fall 2019 are, among other things, supporting our Family Diplomacy Initiative (FDI), planning for the World Affairs Pipeline, and world learning excursions with our children in Washington DC.  Amber Spalek, interviewed below, started interning with Learning Life in May, and happily for us, decided to continue interning this fall.  

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia.

Amber SpalekWhat school do you attend, and what is your year and major there?

I’m a sophomore at George Mason University studying Global Affairs.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy learning languages and reading in my free time.  I really like non-fiction books about politics and linguistics.  I’m especially interested in the history of languages, and sociolinguistics.  Currently, I’m learning Mandarin and Cambodian, but I have dabbled in a number of languages.

Is there a life experience you have had that has particularly shaped you thus far?  If so, what is it, and how has it shaped you?

The most influential life experience I’ve had was studying abroad in China in summer of 2017, the summer after my junior year.  It was the first time that I was fully immersed in another culture, and it changed the way that I view the world.  It was the first time that I understood what it is to be an American, and how what we do as Americans influences how other people view us.  For instance, American media is so not reflective of the diversity of America, so many Chinese people have the impression that the United States is largely white.

What are your career plans?

I plan to work in international education with a focus on exchange programs.

St Petersburg, Russia's Church of the Savior On Spilled BloodWhy did you choose to intern with Learning Life?

I chose to intern with Learning Life because I am passionate about citizen diplomacy and making international exchange experiences accessible to everyone.

What is the most beautiful place you have seen on Earth, and why is it so beautiful?

The most beautiful place I’ve seen is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The walls are covered in vividly-colored paintings and gold leaf.  It’s a surreal experience being inside of the Church because the walls are so intricately designed, and it’s crazy to think that they were all hand-painted!