The Intern Group Contributes to Medellín’s Growth as Colombians Turn Over a New Leaf in their Country’s History

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The Intern Group has recently sent over 300 young professionals from all over the world to join forces with the resilient and hospitable Colombian people, working together to build a brighter future for all.

The ‘90s may be making a comeback everywhere else, but in Medellín, Colombians are looking forward to a peaceful tomorrow. At this unique time in the country’s history, The Intern Group is enabling hundreds of young professionals from all over the world to join forces with the resilient and hospitable Colombian people through international internship programs.

The flourishing economy in Medellín epitomizes a great comeback story. Decades ago, the city government mapped out a blueprint to transform Medellín’s economy to be more knowledge-based, opting for investments in technology, innovation and energy above industrial and textiles jobs. Investments in public transportation like the Metrocable have lead to more social inclusion.

This push has launched the country into a new era – an era of innovation, development, entrepreneurship and internationalism. It also won the city the distinction of “Innovative City of the Year” in 2013.

The Intern Group‘s cofounder and Americas Executive Director, Johanna Molina, can attest to the fact that it’s a unique moment in her country’s history. “This is a very exciting time to be part of the change, proactively collaborating, participating in the transformation of a city that has been overcoming challenges.”

The Intern Group works in tandem with these positive changes, sending interns to work at start-up companies and firms that are a result of Medellín’s pro-innovation policies. Recently, The Intern Group sent over 300 students representing over 50 nationalities to Medellín, Colombia.

The Intern Group was recently featured on a Colombian news program called INFRARROJO. They interviewed Molina about the positive effects that international interns are having on her culture by becoming ambassadors of the country's true image. The video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H15XovZH7p8&feature=youtu.be

Molina said an intern from the Netherlands recently told her that after doing other internships in Europe and South America, she feels her position working in Medellín’s tourism office has been the most significant.

“I have developed such a love and admiration for Colombia and the people. The country itself has had so many challenges which have left the country with a horrible connotation. Yet, the people and their beliefs and love for the country changed it,” said Emily Williams, a former intern in Medellín. Williams was skeptical at first about taking an internship in Colombia. By the end of her internship, she didn’t want to leave.

“They are working so hard in preventing violence, as well as creating a safe environment for all who live there as well as its guests. At my internship I went to different orphanages and homes of protection, by doing this I saw many rural and still somewhat developing areas. I was always welcomed. Those I met would tell me about the country's struggles, and what I heard about most is how Colombia has less struggles than the day before,” said Williams.

According to Molina, interns like Emily contribute to the evolving image of Medellín and Colombia as a whole. They also pave the way for all kinds of new international connections to Colombia. Aside from a surprising number of return visitors, Molina has seen parents of interns invest in real estate or set up companies in Colombia. Some interns return to the companies where they interned because they’ve been offered full-time positions. Other interns set up businesses of their own in Medellín.

Even for interns who don’t return, they arrive to their home countries with first-hand knowledge of what Colombia is all about. They understand the country on such a deeper level than a news article or television show could ever portray.

“The contribution of our interns is not only to the organization but also to the image of the country as a whole,” said Molina.

“When they leave we have this beautiful ritual where they come to the office, they give us their feedback, we give them a Colombian flag, (and) they become some sort of informal ambassadors of the good image, or the fair image. They don’t need to exaggerate, they just need to share their experience, which usually is fantastic.”

Sources & important links:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2016/03/03/the-intern-group-how-one-colombian-leader-connected-the-world/#59521db51e68
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruta_N
http://www.rutanmedellin.org/es
http://online.wsj.com/ad/cityoftheyear
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrocable_(Medell%C3%ADn)

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Lexie Kadlec
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