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Great Opportunity to Gain International Work Experience through the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP)

Read more about the internship experience from those who lived it

Bow Valley College in partnership with College of the Rockies and Selkirk College are once again offering overseas internship placements through the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP).

IYIP offers Canadian post-secondary graduates the opportunity to gain professional experience through international development work.

The program, which is funded by Global Affairs Canada, is part of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy.

Last Year, Zach Janzen and Jillian Davies took part in internship experiences overseas.

Developing an Identity, Developing yourself – Zach Janzen

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In the world of creative design, developing a brand identity can be challenging. Now imagine having to do this while learning the cultural nuances of a foreign country.

This is just one of the challenges that Zach Janzen embraced as part of his International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) placement in Tanzania.

Zach, a graduate of Selkirk College’s Digital Arts & New Media program assisted the development of social media strategies and designed promotional material for various projects and events for the Milele Zanzibar Foundation in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

One of his proudest moments while overseas in East Africa, was designing a brand identity for a group of local growers.

“This initiative focused on helping organic farmers and their communities in Zanzibar,” says Zach. “The project was a huge success and is one of the strongest parts of my portfolio.”

Over and above the technical tasks as Digital Development Communications Officer, Zach also faced culture shock, a new anxiety in and of itself.

“I found myself growing as an individual as I learned how to work within another culture, which was very new for me. I also learned that broadening your perspective can strengthen the quality of work that you are able to produce.”

After completing his internship, Zach experienced significant personal growth, and feels as though he better understands himself and his future career goals.

“My experience gained has increased my opportunities for employment,” he explains. “Not only have I learned many new networking techniques during my re-integration period at Bow Valley College, I plan to apply my new skills in the workplace and in all aspects of my life to make meaningful connections and excel in my career.”

Shining a Light – Jillian Davies

Jillian Web

We’ve all been there. You find yourself staring blankly at your computer screen or cell phone. In that moment you think “what am I doing with my career?”

For Jillian Davies, it was this revelation that set her on a path of fulfilment with an IYIP internship in Peru.

Davies had been working in her field for about three years, and while she really enjoyed the work, she felt that her job lacked meaning or social benefit.

“I previously had a really rewarding overseas experience in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, so when I saw the posting needing a Spanish speaker who had done similar international work previously, I thought the role was a good fit.”

The fit Jillian speaks of was with Light Up the World, a Canadian non-profit organization focused on the principle that access to energy changes lives.

“I was involved in developing a new venture in Social Enterprise with the goal of being able to reach more people who do not have access to modern, clean energy products while doing it in a more sustainable way,” says Jillian. “My role involved a lot of different activities - my favourite part was going to the field to promote solar products to rural communities. Most of the people we presented to were really excited about solar technology and were grateful that we traveled to them to help them gain access to these life-changing products.”

In addition to helping bring new technologies to remote areas, Jillian is also proud of the fact that she was able to step out of her comfort zone.

“I think it's made me more resilient and I feel so much more prepared to chase after my goals.”

If you’ll have graduated post-secondary school by May 15, 2020, you may be eligible to apply to the 2020 International Youth Internship Program. Visit our internships page for more information about opportunities, eligibility, and how to apply.

Applications for the 2020 positions will open early January.

Author: Drew Scherban 

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