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Interview with Alex Shadeed

Alex Shadeed is a U3 Political Science and IDS student at McGill. During the summer of 2015, he worked as a Social Media and Communications Intern at the Montreal-based NGO Academics Without Borders. AWB seeks to improve the learning environments of universities in the developing world by sending over North American Academics to both teach at these institutions and provide guidance in their development projects.

Looking back, what was the most rewarding aspect of your internship?

Seeing the way in which AWB’s social media following grew. Social media is often pegged as a numbers-intensive field. However, the quality of your following is just as important as the magnitude of your following. The internship offered me the opportunity to engage with a multitude of high profile individuals and organizations on social media. Seeing their appreciation of both mine and AWB’s work was truly rewarding.

What was the most memorable moment of your internship?

Getting a direct tweet from the World Bank thanking us for our work was one of the most memorable notifications I’ve ever received.

What resources did you draw upon to adjust to the new environment?

Because of the nature of my internship, I was able to perform all my duties from my home in Montreal. This was incredibly convenient as I was always able to come in to the AIO whenever I had any questions or concerns regarding my internship. As well, the AIO was always kind enough to share any major AWB developments on social media in order to help the post gain traction. These gestures were greatly appreciated.

What was your favorite thing to do with your spare time in this new locale?

The great thing about social media work is that it can be done on the go from the convenience of your smartphone. This allowed me to really explore Montreal, choosing to do my work in a variety of locations. Feeling like a tourist in my own city really helped with the creative work required of being on social media.

What would you recommend to any future AIO interns who might be considering interning at Academics Without Borders?

Make sure you’re a self-starter! AWB is really awesome in that you’re given a lot of creative freedom with your projects. As long as you stay organized, structured, and motivated, you’ll be able to maximize your internship experience and learn according to your needs.