A truly unforgettable experience.
I am truly thankful for this once in a lifetime opportunity, and would strongly recommend it to anyone who has the chance to experience it.
How did you get the placement and what was it for?
I received a placement through The Intern Group in Medellin, Colombia from November 2018 to February 2019. I was placed in a local non-profit organisation (NGO) that provided promotional services for other community-based NGOs throughout the city.
My duties throughout my internship included providing support during hosted events and developing social media strategies designed to increase engagement. I was also tasked with connecting this Spanish-speaking corporation with potential English-speaking donors and partner agencies to help grow their reach. Through this internship placement, I was able to interact with a wide variety of people, including the indigenous Wayuu community in La Guajira, incarcerated pregnant women, sex workers, elderly and disabled communities, as well as children/youth living in areas of high poverty and frequent gang warfare. I feel fortunate that I was offered such a varied and exciting internship, where no two days were ever the same.
How did The Intern Group help?
The Intern Group also hosted a range of professional workshop events that provided networking opportunities and the chance to learn more about career development. It was inspiring to hear Johanna Molina, one of the co-founders of the Intern Group speak, to hear about how she had helped to build and grow an internship concept into the international organisation it is today.
The Intern Group offers many weekend events, from a walking tour of Medellin to a day trip to Guatape and the famous El Peñón de Guatapé. We were able to take advantage of weekly salsa lessons, as well as numerous other social events that allowed us to connect with other interns and the friendly Intern Group team. I was fortunate enough to complete my internship over Christmas time and got to experience an authentic Colombian Christmas Eve with a welcoming, local family.
Before beginning my Colombian internship, I was concerned that my inability to speak Spanish would cause significant communication struggles. Fortunately, the Intern Group helped me to organise a daily Spanish class at a local private university, EA Fit, which allowed me to learn the basics of the language very quickly. English is also commonly spoken in a lot of areas, so I was always able to connect with others.
Why did you do this particular internship?
Although my initial intentions for completing an international internship was to gain professional experience, but I believe that my personal growth during this time was what made this experience so invaluable. The Intern Group strives to immerse every cohort into the thriving culture of Medellin, to provide a truly authentic experience.
What are you doing know?
Since completing my internship, I have moved into the field of public health work in New Zealand. I truly believe that the skills I obtained through my Colombian internship experience provided me with a strong foundation to enter the workforce. I now feel better equipped to support and advocate for people who come from a wide variety of different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and to provide innovative services that offer tangible results.
I am grateful for the experience I received through this internship and will continue to nurture the professional connections and personal friendships I developed while there. I am truly thankful for this once in a lifetime opportunity, and would strongly recommend it to anyone who has the chance to experience it.