Testimonials

Monica, BOTL ’16

MicroGrants

“I have always been interested in working in the nonprofit world. While I was in the Twin Cities, I hoped to explore this line of work. I asked plenty of questions to my coworkers, and I networked with employees of other organizations. I also took advantage of the Yale Alumni Association, in order to get additional information. Through these conversations, I learned a great deal! I am looking forward to implementing this knowledge in my future career.

MicroGrants has an incredibly welcoming staff. I felt comfortable in the office right away! I cherish the relationships that I’ve formed with each and every person in the office. It was their kindness and friendship that made me smile each time I walked into work. While I was at MicroGrants, I worked in some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Twin Cities. Through my work, I was able to help them, even in small ways. I came to understand a wide variety of people and got to know the struggles of their lives. These relationships were incredibly enriching, and I hope to continue this work in the future.

The most rewarding aspect of Bulldogs on the Lakes was the Mentorship Program. I was paired with Cynthia Lee, a lawyer in the Twin Cities area. She was kind enough to show me around the neighborhood. She took me to fun events, such as orchestra concerts and barbeques. She also helped me adjust to life in the Midwest. Her guidance really meant a lot!”

Nayeon, BOTL ’16

Advocates for Human Rights

“I grew personally through this experience by developing new friendships and connections with alumni. I was aware of my introverted tendencies, but living in the same apartment with others for the first time and constantly being surrounded by people challenged my social capacity. Yet I realized the value of time spent with fellow Yalies, interns, and friends as I came to know them more and found joy in doing daily activities together such as buying groceries, cleaning, and attending cultural events. I also had the opportunity to meet with wonderfully caring alumni, especially my mentor who was extremely supportive and essential to making me feel like home in a city I had never been before.

The most rewarding aspect of this program was living together with other Yalies in one apartment building. It was not only convenient to meet up and plan potluck dinners, but also comforting to always have company close by. Another enjoyable aspect of the program was biking as the primary mode of transportation to work and other places around the city. I did not face big challenges adjusting to the city or within the Bulldogs group.”

Sasha, BOTL ’16

Hmong College Preparatory Academy

“The program was fantastic! I got to work in a field I’m strongly considering for my post-college career (education) alongside people I never would have met otherwise. I also got to explore a city that I would now love to live in after college. I also got to see the results of my work, since I was working directly with high school students. Overall it was highly rewarding and a great way to help people out.

Teaching is what I want to do after college. My internship only reaffirmed this desire, and I got to see more of the behind-the-scenes aspects of teaching, such as lesson planning and grading. One of the most valuable skills I started to develop during this internship was how to work with English language learners. The best techniques I learned were to always rephrase in a way the students would understand and teaching a skill with things they already know first rather than also with an entirely new concept. I made an effort to find out what my students were interested in (anime, Thai dramas, and sports, to name a few interests), and I related examples to those first, before adding in the more esoteric examples the ACT would use. This showed the students that they had the capability to learn these skills before applying them to things where they might not know the concept but could figure it out.

For me, the experience made me less nervous about what I’ve chosen to do with my life. Teaching is the way I’ve found to do the greatest amount of good in a way that’s meaningful to me. I got to watch my students grow, and I grew attached to them in only 4 short weeks.”

Emma, BOTL ’16

Great Plains Institute

“This summer I wanted to make new friends and get to know Minneapolis. I feel that I accomplished both of those goals in that I made friends with other members of my Bulldogs cohort who were happy to explore events happening in Minneapolis throughout the summer, which allowed us to get a better sense of the city. Additionally, I made some great friends at work who showed me around Minneapolis and took me on biking and canoeing trips. I became more confident in my ability to make friends in the workplace while maintaining a strong working relationship, which is something I find very valuable.

The mentor relationships formed in the BOTL program are extremely valuable in terms of getting to know the area as well as forming connections with the local Yale network. It was really fun to get to know all of the mentors, as they would often come to the BOTL events and sometimes organized events of their own, such as working the lunch shift at People Serving People. All of the mentors are extremely dedicated to ensuring that every Yale student has a wonderful experience in Minneapolis, and they are all great people to get to know.”

Andrew, BOTL ’16

Community Reinvestment Fund

“From living with a group of four other strangers, I learned how to communicate effectively in order to work together to form a welcoming, efficient living space. I also realized that taking the time to get to know someone is key to forming a healthy, fulfilling relationship, and that, by putting myself out there, I could become close friends with many of the other Bulldog interns in the program. Many of my most memorable moments in the Twin Cities involve exploring the parks and streets with the other interns, seeing what Minneapolis has to offer while simultaneous forming a bond through our shared experience. I vividly remember sitting on the Endless Bridge of the Guthrie Theater, and visiting the waterfall at Minnehaha Park. A number of us also visited the lake house of one of the interns in upper Wisconsin; from that experience, I realized the importance of friends and family, and of the rejuvenating qualities of nature. And from Minneapolis, I learned that while summers can be short, they are often jam-packed with activities and experiences that come together to make life worth living — Minnesotans are a robust bunch, and they have mastered the art of balancing work with recreation. From this summer, I would say that my overall outlook on life has become slanted more toward finding a balance with my future professional development and with emphasizing the values of friendship and community.

Minneapolis is a wonderful city! Because the winters are so brutal, many of the festivals and events are condensed into the summer, meaning there was something to do or see every weekend.

I’d say the most rewarding aspect of the program was discovering and learning about Minneapolis both on my own and with the Bulldogs cohort. It was incredibly fun exploring the city and the surrounding areas, and the activities the Bulldogs program sponsored were also great at getting us to see more and more of what Minneapolis has to offer. The mentors assigned to us were also great, and mine were especially helpful in recommending restaurants and answering any of the questions I had about the Twin Cities.”

Talia, BOTL ’12

Minnesotans United for All Families

“In full disclosure, when I first applied to BOTL, I was a bit skeptical about spending a summer in Minnesota.  I was initially drawn by an internship with the campaign Minnesotans United for All Families, the state-wide campaign that defeated a proposed state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.  I had never stepped foot in the Midwest and did not know what to expect, but the Twin Cities and Bulldogs on the Lakes program completely swept me off my feet.  My time with Bulldogs on the Lakes was an unforgettable experience.  I spent an amazing summer in one of the lushest metropolitans I have ever seen, surrounded by amazing friends while interning with a spectacular campaign!  If you have never visited the Twin Cities, GO!  You won’t regret it.  It is a rare place where nature and urban planning coexist in perfect harmony.  The Twin Cities offer endless outdoor activities such as bike riding, canoeing, or getting lost in endless nature trails AND boasts a vibrant city life filled with baseball games, the theatre, art galleries and a poppin’ night life!  Not to mention that you are paired with great Yale alumni who serve as mentors.  As if this weren’t enough, you also get the pleasure of meeting the amazing Bill Messinger and hanging out with the fabulous Jen Knutson!  If given the chance, I would do it again in a heartbeat!”

Abby, BOTL ’12

Hmong College Prep Acadamy

“Spending the summer with Bulldogs on the Lakes was without a doubt my favorite Yale summer experience.  This is partly due to the fantastic internships BOTL offers – since it focuses on nonprofits, it offers a unique opportunity to directly engage with and feel a connection to Twin Cities communities.  But even more importantly, BOTL creates a community of its own.  The alumni network is incredibly welcoming and invested in the BOTL interns.  Living (and cooking!) with the other interns creates a sense of home, while having access to all of the Twin Cities gives a sense of adventure.  Biking to lakes, canoeing down rivers, visiting museums, farmer’s markets, nightlife, and film/art/music festivals – spending a summer in the Twin Cities was surprisingly lively.  It is this sense of always having places to explore, and people to explore them with, that I think sets BOTL apart from other Yale Bulldogs and summer programs.”

Julio, BOTL ’12

KFAI Radio Station

“My summer at KFAI Radio Station with the Bulldogs on the Lakes was truly a formative experience.  I was able to delve into media-producing and reading news stories on the air, translating for Spanish-speaking audiences, guest co-hosting a weekly show with a well-known DJ, and most importantly, gaining the experience I needed to be successful in media.  I also used social media (Facebook and Twitter) to strategize ways in promoting the radio station, which proved very successful by the end of the summer.  Now I’m living abroad in Russia under another Yale fellowship after graduating, where I research media relations.  I regularly appear on television and radio in both Russian and English.  I know my experience on the radio with the BOTL program has given me the skills I need to be an effective speaker, both on-air, and off.  The network provided to me through the BOTL opportunity has served me well in advancing my career goals, and given me a wealth of knowledge and friendships that I hold on to even today.  Thank you BOTL!

Aube, BOTL ’13

Headwaters Foundation for Justice

“Never did I previously envision spending one of my summers in Minnesota, but the experience ended up being a thoroughly charming discovery.  I worked as an intern for Headwaters Foundation for Justice, a nonprofit organization that focuses on state-wide efforts to promote social, racial, economic and environmental justice.  My tasks were multi-faceted and well-balanced – I was assigned many communications-related responsibilities such as drafting press releases and newsletters, but also given the freedom to organize a grantee stories project and bike out to different areas of the Twin Cities to interview local community organizers and write stories about their work.  The BOTL program itself is also amazingly run – you will feel taken care of every single second.  Minnesota is green, lush and sunny during the summer, you’ll be able to attend plenty of wonderful cultural events with alums, be paired with a mentor and go on great midwestern camping or rafting trips.  We stayed in the Danish American Center, a spacious and modern building located right by the majestic Mississippi river – I loved living with all the other interns and becoming a tight-knit group with Yalies I probably would not have gotten to know otherwise.  My summer was educational, entertaining, and an overall blast.  I miss the Twin Cities and the people till this day.”

Thomas, BOTL ’13

Council on Crime and Justice

“The events put on by the alumni around the city were excellent.  Roughly every other week, an alum would come to Danebo to talk about his or her experience as well as giving advice to me and all the other interns with whom I lived.  Not only were these talks very helpful, I also really enjoyed hearing old stories about Yale and talking to old Yalies.  Other alumni would invite us to their houses, on boat trips, to sports events, theaters, etc., almost every week, which were also tons of fun.  The events were frequent enough to keep us entertained and constantly engaged with each other in new activities, but infrequent enough to give us time to explore the city on our own; I never felt too scheduled to read and relax during the weekend or during the week.  The housing was also very nice; Danebo was definitely different from living in a dorm, but I felt that it allowed all of the interns to hang out in common spaces, cook together, and interact with one another in ways that would not be possible elsewhere.”

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