Interning at Synergos: Thu Nguyen

My name is Thu Nguyen and I will be a U2 student in Political Science and Psychology in fall 2022. I am a recipient of the Schull Yang International Experience Award and I interned with

Synergos Institute, an international organization working to deal with poverty by connecting governmental, for-profit, and non-profit sectors.


I have always wanted to be involved with a global non-profit organization since I am curious about how people from different parts of the world will come together and coordinate for common good. The possible challenges as well as efforts to overcome them fascinate me, and overall, I have believed that grand issues can only be solved with global cooperation.


Synergos Institute has turned out to be the perfect place to explore this. Synergos is an international non-profit that aims to solve urgent issues with inter-sector and inter-class cooperation. It wants to make an impact that is not top-down towards community and thus works to mobilize resources from global philanthropists to contribute to local grassroot projects. The issues that Synergos seeks to tackle include poverty, social injustice and climate change.


I was an intern in the Human Resources department. It has been an interesting experience, since I got to see the functionality of an international organization and to meet people from different departments. Throughout the internship, I was involved with documentation work, including filling up human resources-related survey and creating demography listing. I also got the chance to prepare presentation for several tool launching such as NAVEX, a tool to report harassment safely, and CultureAmp, a performance review tool. Another interesting task I was given is recruitment related, through which I was responsible for CV reviewing, contacting and setting up interviews for potential candidates. Last but not least, my favourite task was conducting research: about maternity leave laws in different parts of the world, about the incubator business model, and about how to organize hybrid working.

Thu's computer and drink, at home, during her remote internship
Work-from-home was not easy, but it also offered a chance for me to be independent and disciplined. One of the best things about working with Synergos is that I was allowed to share my own opinions and be listened to. Many tasks required me to be proactive, coordinating between thinking by myself and not hesitating to ask necessary questions to guarantee effective communication.

I came into Synergos without any expectation and just the willingness and openness to absorb anything taught to me. Yet, this is not to say that I was just aimlessly wandering within the organization. My ultimate goal was learning, so I would always try to figure out what the underlying reason for my task was and how it contributed to the functionality of the organization in general. Thanks to this habit, I was able to piece together all of my tasks, however trivial they seemed.


Majoring in Political Science and coming from a developing country, I have taken Synergos’ philosophy of helping projects on the ground to be the heart of this internship. It has allowed me to see the practical realities of philanthropy which I had previously studied in class. Psychology, on the other hand, is more closely connected to the work of Human Resources, in which you have to figure out ways to interact and coordinate people from different cultures and backgrounds.


Thus, Synergos has set out a good start for me in terms of thinking about what the projects and values I would like my work to contribute to, in the future. I realized that I still have a lot more to learn and that I would want to work for a meaningful cause. The funds have undoubtedly made the experience much easier for me, since I was able to focus entirely on learning during my internship and not having to worry about financial issues.


Thank you to Mr. Schull and Ms. Yang for making this experience possible!

Thu working at a cafe
Working at a coffee shop was a refreshing experience. The internship has been a great opportunity for me to learn to focus on the right details and not overwhelm myself with everything.

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