World Bank summer transforms attitude, provides valuable experience

Kennedy Whitby, Junior Editor

The conference room was filled with suit-wearing professionals, abuzz with curious stories about overseas missions and global efforts. I sat to the side, a mere 17-year-old, overwhelmed by this unknown workplace environment. The professional atmosphere in the Transport Global Practice at the World Bank, though intimidating at first, would lead to an mind-opening summer break.

This summer, I was joined by 15 other DCPS students at an internship at the World Bank. The internship was provided for us by Urban Alliance, a program working to give high school seniors professional work experience and mentoring. As soon as I heard about the opportunity in the counselor’s suite, I immediately knew I had to apply.

When I first got the news that I was assigned a position in the Transport Department at the World Bank, my thoughts were somewhere along the lines of ‘This will be a boring summer’ and ‘What would I even do?’ The job was not initially compelling to me because I knew nothing about my assignment or designated department. 

My friends who were also in the Urban Alliance program were assigned departments that actually sounded interesting, like working with natural disasters in Africa or women’s rights across the world. Still, I was left with Transport based in Eastern Asia. 

But as luck would have it, as I began my internship, my mind was opened and I became excited for the program. I realized that the Transport Department is vital to the World Bank and even to my own life. 

During my first week, I attended multiple meetings relating to an ongoing project overseas. It was quickly made clear to me how difficult and compelling the jobs in the department were. 

Staff are sent on “missions” internationally to oversee the placement of roads, train stations, busses, and other transport infrastructure. They explore foreign laws and transport innovation that affect everyday citizens. 

During my time at the World Bank, my mind was opened to how relevant transport is and how closely it relates to other aspects of life. I was given valuable opportunities that I wouldn’t have on a daily basis. 

The World Bank also introduced me to professional mentors, like a communications specialist who gave me the scoop on broadcast journalism, a field I would like to go into. This summer internship gave me long-term practice in a workplace environment. 

And if the professional experience I gained this summer wasn’t enough, the free yoga and meditation classes that were provided certainly made up for it.