Hi everybody, I’m very sorry for the long delay from Boston, but due to some technical issues I only get my blog to work today. The following blog is from my journal on Monday this week. I hope everybody is having a great and safe summer with Shepherd Alliance!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Boston at last !!!

Hi all, my name is Van Nguyen, a rising junior from Washington and Lee University. With the help of the Shepherd Alliance program, I will be interning at Viet-AID (Vietnamese American Initative Development Agency) as an Economic Development intern. I am very excited about working at the agency, especially since I’m an advent of Asian Pacific Islanders (API) issues and I can finally use my bilingual language skills for something good.

My Boston intern group has five students: two from W&L (Emily and me), two from Berea College in Kentucky (Lily and Nika), and Keith from Amherst College. After the pre-orientation conference at Berea College where I met several wonderful friends and bonded with them, the girls and I drove with Emily from Lexington to Boston, and what a trip! We passed ten states on the way and enjoyed one another’s company tremendously. We finally got to Boston around 4 p.m. yesterday (Sunday) after a 5-hour drive from Allentown, Penn. this morning and a 5 hour-drive from Lexington, Va. Thanks to Emily, we all made it safe and sound.

On the way to our dorm at the Mass. College of Arts and Design, the neighborhood seems a bit run-down but the dorm that we stay in for the next two months are very safe and we have security guard 24/7. The RA of the dorm gave us an oral orientation of which areas to avoid (he mentioned the pastel-colored buildings as the “projects” and thus, not very safe). Dorchester area where all five of us are interning is considered as the most dangerous place in Boston and should be avoided at all cost if we don’t want to get shot or mugged. This says something considered that the RA is a metal sculpure major and he makes axes for his class, and he looks tough.

Later at night, the RA, Lily and I walked around the neighborhood and saw where his friends  stay. I was pretty shocked (but not too surprised) that right in a prosperous city like Boston, there are many run-down slump-like neighborhoods that people would not let their kids wonder around even in daylight.

Nonetheless, it is very nice coming back to a city environment, despite all the issues that a city environment entails. I feel both excited and challenged by the upcoming internship but one thing for sure, I will give this position my best.