If you’ve been in the BYTE office lately, you might have noticed a new face at one of the desks! Brittney Potvin has joined us in the office a few days a week, acting as Program Coordinator for an internship program that is launching this year. Northern Council for Global Cooperation, in partnership with Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC), BYTE Empowering Youth Society, the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq and the Native Council of PEI launched their International Internship for Indigenous Youth (IIIYP) program this summer.
In 2016, Brittney participated in a similar internship program through the ACIC, the International Youth Internship program, working and living in Managua, Nicaragua for 6 months. When we asked her what the most challenging part of it was, she said:
“In Nicaragua, I really struggled with the language barrier. Although I had studied Spanish in university, it was way, way harder to use it in real life. At the office I initially felt isolated, but eventually improved, with a lot of practice, and was able to fit in. When I left 6 months later, I really felt part of the team.”
“Surprisingly, I was very nervous to take taxis and buses by myself when I first got to Nicaragua. This was due to the language barrier, and the fact that the system is very different than it is in Canada. When I finally was able to negotiate my taxi prices in Spanish, and learned the ropes of the local transit, I was very proud of myself. It’s the small victories!”
When we asked Brittney what her tips for first time travellers and prospective interns were, she said:
“I would say, if you are interested, go for it! Participating in a program such as the IIIY is a great opportunity, as you are traveling with purpose and will receive support from NCGC / ACIC and the partner organizations. This is a great opportunity for first time travellers, and for those who really want to engage with global issues. A great way to get excited for and prepare for your internship, in my opinion, is to read books, watch movies and listen to music from the country or region that you are going to. This is a great way to connect with others while you are there, and is also a great pastime when you first settle in and might feel a bit shy.”
This four month internship placement is offered to 20 Indigenous youth each year over five years, meaning 100 Indigenous youth will get the opportunity in total. Interns will be placed in five countries: Nepal, Costa Rica, Guyana, Kenya, and Cambodia. The first group departs October 2018 and returns January 2019.
They have “taken a holistic approach to supporting indigenous youth as
global citizens, incorporating Elders, traditional knowledge, families and community members, indigenous
community organizations, and local partner organizations who work in priority development sectors in
indigenous communities in the Global South.”
By participating in this program, interns will: be provided opportunities to gain transferable skills, learn how to engage with key development themes in their own communities and abroad, explore education and career pathways in the field of international and community development, build confidence and experience in public engagement, and build networks in the international development sector and their own communities that will allow them to put their skills and passion to work for positive change.
More information about the program can be found on their website, along with eligibility, application guidelines and forms. There will be an information session on June 20th at 6:30 pm at the Whitehorse Public Library, with snacks and non-alcoholic beverages provided. If you’re interested, have more questions or want to meet the folks organizing the internship, we hope you attend!