Volunteer interns help in the fight against sight loss
Samantha Patricio and Tanner Hegge joined the Fight for Sight team for seven weeks as part of their study abroad programme with the Foundation for International Education. Originally from the USA, they have both played an important role at head office and learned a lot about British culture and the work environment.
Here they share their stories.
I am a business student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I would say my greatest career goal is to one day manage a hospital or a health clinic. I have been studying in London since January and have been loving every minute of it (except the ones stuck inside the Underground).
Being interested in health care administration, I hoped to learn about the ins and outs of health policy and medical research in the UK. Fight for Sight afforded me just that as I was able to work on projects ranging from helping generate funds for eye research to helping organise an All Party Parliament Group meeting focused on eye health research.
While I did enjoy many of the projects I worked on, I believe the most valuable experience I gained was working alongside the generous staff of Fight for Sight. Interning at Fight for Sight allowed me to truly soak in British culture by hearing the stories and perspectives of people I could have never imagined meeting. The Fight for Sight family welcomed Sam and I with open arms. Not only were they great at sharing what they do and why they do it, but they also took the time to make sure that we were getting the most out of our experiences.
In the past two months or so I have learned that funding eye research is crucial to the health and wellbeing of everybody. Fight for Sight has a dedicated staff that is passionate about efficiently funding the most promising eye research.
I’m originally from Southern California, but am studying biology with a pre-track in medicine at the College of Saint Benedict in the state of Minnesota. Through my study abroad programme I was able to take classes during the first half of the semester and then intern the second half. When I was accepted into the programme, I wanted to get an internship in health, more specifically, in research. I figured that coming to London would give me a very different perspective on what I wanted to do in the future and so far I’ve had a great experience.
As someone who aspires to work in the health sector, I felt that working in a non-profit could give me another perspective onto the lives of the people I hope to treat someday. Therefore, I hoped to be placed into a charity that could align with what I want to do and a couple months later I was able to become a part of the Fight for Sight team.
As an intern for Fight for Sight I worked with the events team to contact various venues and shops in search of possible locations and prizes that could benefit the charity in future auctions, galas, etc. I worked on creating content for the website that could help the charity’s profile on Google, Facebook and Twitter. I also produced newsletters that inform supporters on the importance of eyesight and the various eye conditions.
I’ve really learned a lot through this charity and I believe that the work they do is extraordinary. Fighting to fund research for people to live a better life and to prevent future sight loss is admirable. This experience has given me new insight as to what it is like having a sight loss condition and trying to find long term answers. I will remember this always and hope to incorporate what I’ve learned to my future endeavours.
On behalf of both of us, we’d like to thank Fight for Sight for providing us with this opportunity and for teaching us what it means to work and live in London. We’ve both learned so much and will without a doubt use our newly acquired skills wherever we go next. For now its farewell but the fight for sight carries on and we’re excited to share our journey back in the United States.
Tanner & Sam
The Fight for Sight Volunteer internship programme is coordinated with Foundation for International Education.