Nicky, Honours Conflict Studies and Human Rights, CECI Nepal, Blue Diamond Society, Research Intern
In just a blink of an eye, the COVID-19 pandemic was declared and the world changed, sooner and quicker than we all expected. Everyone and everything such as schools and workplaces were shifted to a virtual world and is now considered, the new ‘normal’. If anyone would have asked me a year ago, a month before the pandemic, even the week before that this was going to happen, I would not believe them. I got the email from uOttawa about the international internship and the opportunity to be an e-volunteer and I thought to make this possible. I have always wanted to go abroad so I used this to my advantage where I said, “Let’s go International… but let’s do it virtual”. I knew from the start that being physically there in another country, would be a totally different experience than doing it virtually, however, I knew with time and adjustments, it would still be a great experience. I am part of the first group of people to experience this internship fully virtual, from start to end so welcome to the new world.
I am working for the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) as a research intern in Nepal. CECI highly focuses on combating poverty and economic exclusion. In Nepal, the focus is on the economic empowerment of marginalized women and young women due to their identity such as gender, sexual orientation, caste, etc. When I began my internship with CECI Nepal, I was tasked to work with one of their partner organizations in supporting them and their work which focused on emphasizing attention toward economic and environmental rights. I chose to work along with Blue Diamond Society (BDS) in Nepal. This LGBTIQ rights organizations supports and advocates for the community in order for laws against homosexuality to be changed, in addition to the rights for marginalized transgender communities. As a research intern, I am tasked to conduct personal research to expand my knowledge of the organization, the host country, and the issues faced by the community. Furthermore, in recent days, I am tasked with a proposal to be sent regarding the economic concerns due to COVID-19 on the transgender community.
There is no denying that I would rather be doing this internship abroad. However, remote work has allowed me to experience new challenges I never thought I would. The experience of new responsibilities and commitments I had never previously experienced allowed me to develop my skills as well as newer characteristics of myself. It opened my eyes to different perspectives of me and my work ethic. By nature, we are created to experience different scenarios, which assist in personal development as well as newer dimensions of life. The experience of massive time difference and limited communication forced my hand in being more independent and to try as hard as I can, but to never give up. Although there may seem as if there are many downsides of the time difference, it allowed me to work and expand on my time management skills while developing adaptability skills. As a result, it gave me different strategies in managing my stress and anxiety but also, the reality of a new life.
Lastly, the opportunity I’ve been given to do this internship abroad… but virtual, by CECI Nepal, has been the greatest experience for which I am grateful. The only thing coming in between you and this internship is the fear of “will I be able to do this?” And the answer is yes, you just have to want it, to face your fears and the obstacles along with it. Never pass on this opportunity, I highly recommend it, as you will NOT regret it.