International Youth Internship: A Journalism graduates experience in Jamaica
I first learned of the International Youth Internship Summer 2018, when I served as a Social Media and Content Coordinator at the Alberta Council on Global Cooperation. Bow Valley College, an ACGC partner, is leading the initiative in Alberta. To endorse the program, I produced posts on both social media and the biweekly ACGC newsletter.
While I completed my last semester at Nait, I received the ACGC newsletter, and there was a message that Bow Valley College was recruiting for an overseas internship. I've always been fascinated by the opportunity to obtain exposure overseas. To prepare, I spent some time researching all about Jamaica and contacted former interns to inquire about their experiences. As the plane landed in Kingston, it was unreal when I saw the beautiful blue water. It then hit me that this was going to be my home for the next six months.
This period became a time of adaptation to island living, society and culture. Navigating a new country, working atmosphere, particularly when you don't have friends or family, is challenging. It's a massive mental and physical change, where you only have to force yourself out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in all ways. Reflecting closely on this journey, I recognize my personal development and growth in my technical abilities innovative communication skills, and how I used these to address gender equality in Jamaica.
The Caribbean Child Development Centre provides holistic support to Caribbean children through public service, training and research. My internship at the Caribbean Child Development Centre has helped me gain insight into the early childhood development sector. It developed my skills in learning the centre's brand voice and creating a communications plan on CCDC's social media platforms and website. A study of the gender gap became a critical aspect of my role, which led me to attend the UNESCO Caribbean Forum, which gave me insight into gender equality in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Discussions on homelessness, climate change, public education, and socioeconomic inequalities affect young people in the Caribbean and the UN's 2030 sustainable development goals. They addressed the need to promote more gender equality in sports and other activities.
Before settling in Jamaica, I had always appreciated Reggae and Dancehall and Jamaican cuisine and cultures, and I was delighted to immerse myself in it. I spent some weekends exploring the country. Jamaica is a blessed island; every parish is unique and distinct; there’s so much to discover. Some of my most memorable encounters have been visiting the Rastafarian Village, Nanny Town, the Blue Mountain Hike and many more! Learning about history and gaining more insight into it made me understand more and bring more perspective. Meeting other young people and listening to their experiences allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the communities and the impact it has on a child growing up in Jamaica.
One of the most challenging aspects has been returning to Canada. I had become used to living in Jamaica; it had become my everyday reality. Not everybody understands the work I conducted there or my perspective; trying to explain something this impactful feels almost impossible. Especially when you know that you've evolved up as a human being, and the circumstances you've left remain the same.
The internship was a period of rapid growth. It has contributed to the person I aspire to become and provided me with a unique outlook about what I want to do with my career. I would like to give young storytellers the resources they need to articulate their narratives and engage young people and girls in spaces that teach them communication skills. As an up-and-coming multimedia entrepreneur, I'm building a Canadian Black Voices platform to share our stories.