NAME: Aharon Benchimol ’21YC
MAJOR: Political Science and Psychology
HOMETOWN: Caracas, Venezuela
Aharon worked in Congressman Adriano Espaillat’s office, helping Rep. Espaillat serve the constituents of New York State’s 13th congressional district, which includes parts of Bronx and New York counties. He did pretty much everything from conducting research on new legislation and translating texts from English to Spanish to handling the nitty-gritty of preparing and attending events.
“When the day ended,” he said, “I felt satisfaction that I helped people who are in very disadvantageous positions. Every day, I interacted with constituents facing difficult situations, and I felt helpful when I could be part of the process of getting to tangible solutions that are going to end their suffering.”
That sense of accomplishment meshes perfectly with the values he believes a YU education promotes. “What is unique about YU’s education is teaching you to give back to the community. YU provides the tools both to be successful and to show you that within your personal success is room to help others.” He adds that “what I did in my internship is learn how to become a better professional and at the same time help others.”
Through his work, he also experienced a profound understanding of life in the United States. “As an international student from Venezuela, something that shocked me was to see how constituents need and depend on the different benefits that the government provides. The belief from outside is that in America, there are enough opportunities to cover the necessities of everyone. However, this work demonstrated me that it is not necessarily the case. Constituents struggle to cover basic needs like housing and health care.
“Moreover, this work also gave me an exposure to see first-hand how policies made by a few affect a lot of people. During the semester, I was a little bit isolated from what was happening outside. But now, when I read the news, I kind of see a wider image of the situations taking place in New York.”