Intern and Volunteer Stories

What Interns and Volunteers Are Saying

Interns and volunteers are always one of the most important parts of the APADRC.
We are proud to share stories from our dedicated Conflict Resolution Specialists: Qijing, Addison, Rachel, Austen, and Liping about their experience working here at the Center!

2019 Conflict Resolution Specialist, Qijing Zheng

Working at the APADRC is full of intellectual challenges from day one of the 40-hour Basic Mediation training. I still remember how eye-opening the Ugli Orange exercise was to me. My group came out with a proposal to split the oranges in half, but a better solution would have been to share all the oranges together as one party needed the juice and the other party needed the peel. I did not think of sharing at all. Instead, I thought collaboration was to divide it up evenly. This exercise was a paradigm shift to me because I learned to think about different perspectives, especially when considering individual needs of parties in a dispute.

Conciliating cases at the APADRC has further trained me to be more sensitive to individual needs. I learned that it is difficult yet important to help our clients separate their needs from their emotions. For example, I recently worked on a case in which a debtor was confused and stressed out by the various medical bills he was receiving. My colleague and I helped walk this client out of the confusion and stress by patiently gathering information from the creditors, breaking down the bills for the client to review, and finding a solution that met both the debtor’s need to pay a lower lump sum amount rather than to have a payment plan, and the creditor’s need to be paid as soon as possible. I have also learned other valuable skills at the APADRC including phone etiquette, the importance of being organized, and how to work as a team.

About Qijing

Being an international student and double majoring in comparative humanities and East Asian studies in college, Qijing has always wanted to be a facilitator of intercultural communication. Prior to attending USC Gould School of Law, Qijing worked in the publishing industry for some time, first as an assistant editor to a Washington, DC based writer, then as an intern at a publishing house in China. Qijing is excited to continue her work in intercultural communication through the lens of legal advocacy.2019 Conflict Resolution Specialist, Addison Shi

The APADRC is like an observatory where I can see a galaxy of dispute resolution and community services. The unique program of the APADRC provided me with an incomparable opportunity to explore various facets of community disputes during my 3-month internship. For example, a case I found to be the most trying involved helping a Mandarin-Chinese speaker negotiate his eviction order. The process was particularly difficult because one property owner spoke Cantonese-Chinese while the other spoke Spanish. Yet, the property owners’ attorney only spoke English. As a result, to reach a resolution on the case, several colleagues in our office had to work as a team to get past the language barriers. Finally, together we were able to help the tenant extend his lease for another month, providing him with the time he needed to secure a new home.

The greatest part about interning at the APADRC is experiencing dispute resolution in a complex, multi-cultural background and learning how to communicate with people who are mentally vulnerable as they endure huge difficulties in their lives. During my time at the APADRC, my supervisor taught me that being a good problem solver required not only conflict management skills, but also more essentially, care and understanding. Remembering our humanity is often the key to reaching a settlement. I will always remember the passion that all the APADRC staff and volunteers shared to empower community members, bridge cultural differences, and cross language barriers. It inspires me to never stop learning and contributing.

 


2019 Conflict Resolution Specialist, Addison Shi

The APADRC is like an observatory where I can see a galaxy of dispute resolution and community services. The unique program of the APADRC provided me with an incomparable opportunity to explore various facets of community disputes during my 3-month internship. For example, a case I found to be the most trying involved helping a Mandarin-Chinese speaker negotiate his eviction order. The process was particularly difficult because one property owner spoke Cantonese-Chinese while the other spoke Spanish. Yet, the property owners’ attorney only spoke English. As a result, to reach a resolution on the case, several colleagues in our office had to work as a team to get past the language barriers. Finally, together we were able to help the tenant extend his lease for another month, providing him with the time he needed to secure a new home.

The greatest part about interning at the APADRC is experiencing dispute resolution in a complex, multi-cultural background and learning how to communicate with people who are mentally vulnerable as they endure huge difficulties in their lives. During my time at the APADRC, my supervisor taught me that being a good problem solver required not only conflict management skills, but also more essentially, care and understanding. Remembering our humanity is often the key to reaching a settlement. I will always remember the passion that all the APADRC staff and volunteers shared to empower community members, bridge cultural differences, and cross language barriers. It inspires me to never stop learning and contributing.

About Addison

Determined to become a legal professional in international legal affairs, Addison attended law school in China with a double major in English. After a year of working in international commercial arbitration in Beijing, China, Addison came to the United States and obtained an LLM degree from Washington University School of Law with a concentration in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. Further intrigued by the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, Addison then moved to California for a new chapter of mediation and community service experience in non-profit organizations.