It’s been almost three months since I’ve returned back from my summer internship in Mwanza, Tanzania. Time sure has flown! I’ve gotten back into my busy daily routine with classes, exams, work and everything in between. I’ve finished up creating the final versions of the health education and promotional materials for probiotic products in English and Swahili and I’m currently working on an autoethnographical review of my experience for my final project! I’ll also be participating in a few public education campaigns at Western’s upcoming International Week so stay tuned! 🙂
I can’t believe that it was around this time last year that I decided to apply to the Western Heads East internship program! If you’re interested in gaining hands on experience in a variety of fields, acquiring valuable skills in a global setting and working towards being a part of large scale change look no further! I’ll be giving a little insight towards being an intern + some tips for the application process.
To be eligible for a WHE internship opportunity, you must:
- Be a current undergraduate (or graduate student) at Western
- Have completed of your second year of university
- Returning to Western after the internship (in order to fulfill post-internship requirements and responsibilities)
- Be eligible to receive course credit
- For example: An experiential learning course within your faculty
Internship Program Details:
The WHE internship program has a 90 day internship commitment (the days will FLY by trust me)! You also have the choice of which partner country as well as program/organization you would like to worth with. WHE currently has partners in Tanzania (where I went), Kenya as well as Rwanda.
Check out the possible opportunities here as well follow the instructions on how to apply via Western’s international experience portal Atlas – you can login with your Western ID and search “Western Heads East” to reveal all the current internship opportunities and fill out the application accordingly. Definitely take some time and don’t rush through the application questions. Don’t forget the deadline is December 1, 2018 !
What Might be Holding you Back?
I personally had to overcome a few obstacles before I gathered the courage to apply for this internship opportunity.
“I don’t know anyone else who wants to go”
This was a huge unknown for me – I didn’t know anyone else who was interested in participating in the program or any of the other interns going. You will overcome this feeling. You’ll get the chance to meet all the other interns during pre-departure workshops and training and they’ll likely be feeling the same way you are – a bit scared, nervous but also excited and you can share those feeling with each other.
You’ll also become close to the people you live with. In Mwanza, there were seven of us who lived together and shared so many unforgettable memories with each other – you’ll also meet people in Mwanza who are super friendly so you’ll never feel lonely!
Most students (myself included) use their summer break to work and save up for the upcoming year. The first question that came into my mind was definitely how I would be able to finance this trip – there were so many expenses to consider, not only the flight and accommodation costs but also travel insurance, malaria pills, vaccinations and more. It became clear to me that my experience abroad was adding up and I began to shy away from the idea of even considering applying.
What I didn’t know was the amount of funding that I was eligible for by Western through their scholarships and funding for international learning. I took some time to look through and apply to different scholarships such as the Global Opportunities as well as International Learning Awards and was even able to apply to my faculty’s Student Opportunity Fund (Health Science) – which allows students to apply for funding to help further enrich their experience in the field of health sciences. Collectively, these funding opportunities helped to offset the overall cost of my internship so that I didn’t have too much of a financial burden that may have prevented me from further considering the internship opportunity.
“I’m not a science student”
It may seem that the projects we participated in were more “science based” but that’s definitely not the case. Any background or skillset is applicable to a variety of different projects. For example, a business background is extremely useful when tracking costs, revenues and developing marketing programs, strategies and plans for future growth. A design background for developing effective promotional materials, a computer science background for website development and so much more.
The internship experience is extremely diverse and versatile and you will end up gaining so many practical and valuable skills at such an early stage in your career that can help you in the long run.
Thanks for taking the time to read through my post! I sincerely hope that you consider applying for a Western Heads East Internship and feel free to reach out with any questions!
Until next time,