Catching the Opportunity Wave, My Muskie Summer Internship

Kristina Serova’s New York City experience as a 2022 Muskie fellow. Photo courtesy: Kristina Serova.

At the end of the day on August 11, I am trying to come up with one word that can describe my summer in NYC. My head is tossing words such as “adventure”, “openness”, “new people”, “danger”, “work and life balance”, “hands-on experience”, “friends”, and “Fulbright community”, but all of them just cannot wrap the whole spectrum of the emotions I had during the summer.

The 2022 cohort of the Edmund S. Muskie Professional Fellowship Program gathered in Washington, D.C., from August 18–21 for the debriefing seminar.
The 2022 cohort of the Edmund S. Muskie Professional Fellowship Program gathered in Washington, D.C., from August 18–21 for the debriefing seminar.

Suddenly, “opportunity” comes to my mind, and I believe that’s the word that ties all the knots of my NYC life from May 21 to August 21. All the events starting from Muskie professional webinars and ending with Debriefing helped to get the experience I could never imagine I would have.

Thanks to this program, I was able to gain SO MANY opportunities while in NYC. During my internship at Birds Nest Foundation, I had opportunities that I was barely able to juggle, and I will continue learning how to do that when I return to Minneapolis.

First, I had an opportunity to touch a field I had never thought I would be working in: Filmmaking. That sounded so complex and complicated that I felt like I was going to surf in the Atlantic Ocean knowing only how to surf on the Internet. (I also tried surfing for the first time in my life in NYC, and I got several life lessons from that sport too).

In the beginning, you fear the cold water and all those huge waves, but then you just trust the flow, and everything goes smoothly. My integration with Birds Nest Foundation was also smooth.

Kristina Serova, a 2022 Muskie alumna, poses for a photo with the program completion certificate and the Muskie social media contest winner’s certificate during the Debriefing event in August in Washington, D.C.

I am so thankful to the Birds Nest Foundation for this and for the skills and knowledge I got from them. Now, I look at my whole life from the perspective of the angle for a good shot. So, the internship at Birds Nest Foundation was the best shot taken with the golden ratio.

The second opportunity was about the people I met there. I cherish every day I got acquainted with new people at the Fulbright events, at the Muskie conferences, or just in cafes buying a cup of coffee to save my morning. I learned a lot of things from those people. If I start listing all the lessons, I will max out the number of words for this post only in that paragraph.

The third crucial element of my summer life was New York City itself. I treat it as a separate character from my summer journey. I was so surprised how the whole world with all its diversity might be in NYC. I loved walking in every borough noticing all the differences and peculiarities each residential block has, and how neighboring streets might be different from each other. Even with its less than ideal transportation system, NYC has a special place in my heart labeled “one day you should be back”.

When I started to write this blog post I knew that it would be impossible to put all my impressions about the summer into words, but I think that was a good shot though (hopefully with the golden ratio again). Birds Nest Foundation, NYC, and the people around taught me a lot of lessons I would never get at school.

However, that’s still a beginning, right? And I encourage you to have your own journey and your own beginning by applying for the Muskie fellowship.

Kristina Serova, a 2022 Muskie fellow from Russia, graduated from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities – Graduate School with a degree in Political Science and interned at Bird’s Nest Foundation over the summer.

Note: This blog post was originally created in June 2022 as part of the Muskie Social Media Contest, in which Kristina was one of the three winners.