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Making an impact overseas

Apply to the International Youth Internship Program by February 11.

Last year, Jessica Ripley, Mauricio Arteaga, and Maegan Robinson-Anagor interned overseas in Kenya, Peru, and Tanzania, respectively. The post-secondary graduates were placed through the International Youth Internship Program that Bow Valley College offers with College of the Rockies and Selkirk College. Jessica started a scholarship for Kenyan learners; Mauricio installed solar systems in the Andes; and Maegan gave women enrolled in traditionally male programs the chance to connect with their peers. 

Read more about each of their experiences. 

Jessica Ripley, Learner Wellness and Success Officer, Rift Valley Technical Training Institute (Bow Valley College partner), Eldoret, Kenya 

Thanks to Jessica Ripley, 12 learners at Kenya’s Rift Valley Technical Training Institute can now afford an education. “I put out a survey to the student body to see what barriers to success they were struggling with, and the main takeaway was that 70% of the students surveyed said they struggled to pay their school fees,” says Jessica. “I wanted to come up with an initiative to address that as much as possible.”

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She decided to start a scholarship. She didn’t want to fundraise for the scholarship within the community of Eldoret, where Rift Valley Technical Training Institute is located, because there were so many families in need. However, with tuition at the institute valued at C$170 to C$300, she knew she could fundraise in Canada. “Ten dollars Canadian goes so far.”

Thanks to crowdfunding and funds from Bow Valley College’s International team, Jessica raised C$1,600 for the Kindred Valleys United Scholarship, which will fund the 12 learners for a whole year. She will continue leading the scholarship initiative in the coming years even though she has returned to Canada.    

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If you’re considering an internship in a country like Kenya, Jessica notes that it’s an opportunity to make an impact, because you can do so with less. “It felt like you were changing lives with small gestures. I think for anybody interested in having this life-changing experience, becoming a part of community, and changing other people's lives, this is an amazing opportunity.”  

Mauricio Arteaga, Social Enterprise Development Officer, Light up the World, Peru

Mauricio Arteaga also enjoyed the ability to see the impact of the work he was doing in his internship. He interned in Peru at Light up the World, a Canadian non-for-profit which provides electricity to communities that don’t have it. 

“Sometimes, when you work in an office, you don’t really see what the impact of your work is,” says Mauricio, who has a degree in international development from the University of Calgary and is originally from Peru. “I got to see the impact of every dollar.” 

With Light up the World, he did everything from administrative support to event planning to even installing solar systems in rural areas in the high Andes. Most of his internship took place in Lima with some of it taking place in the province of Ancash. 

What Mauricio will remember for the rest of his life from his experience are the words of an Indigenous community leader who approached him as the only Peruvian in the group when the team was out in the leader’s rural Indigenous community. “We are a big family,” the leader told him. “We may look different, but we must help each other.”

“That really struck me,” says Mauricio.       

Maegan Robinson-Anagor, Gender Equity Officer, Morogoro Vocational Teachers Training College (Bow Valley College partner), Morogoro, Tanzania 

As gender equity officer at Morogoro Vocational Teachers Training College in Tanzania, Maegan Robinson-Anagor is most proud of conducting focus groups for women on campus enrolled in programs geared towards traditionally male occupations, including carpentry, plumbing, and auto mechanics. “I was very proud that they were able to partake in a space of community and connect with their other peers, and really express themselves to talk about their journey,” says Maegan, who has a degree in psychology with a minor in international studies from the University of Alberta. 

She was excited she was selected for the gender equity officer position because she is passionate about community development and working with marginalized groups, specifically women, youth, and people of colour.

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Maegan’s next step is to apply to graduate school for community psychology, a branch of psychology that takes into account the community to design interventions for wellbeing. “I would recommend [the International Youth Internship Program] to any recent graduate who is looking for not even just international development experience, but just to improve their professional work experience,” says Maegan.    

If you’ll have graduated post-secondary school by May 2019, you may be eligible to apply for a 2019 position in the International Youth Internship Program. Visit our internships page for more information about opportunities, eligibility, and how to apply. 

Applications are due February 11, 2019.  



Posted on January 14, 2019

Story by Julie-Anne Cleyn, photos by Chris Bolin, Jessica Ripley, and Maegan Robinson-Anagor


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