Gillian, Conflict Studies and Human Rights, Mines Action Canada, Uganda Landmine Survivors Association, South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms
My remote internship has given me the unique option to work with the Uganda Landmine Survivors Association; a grassroots human rights organization that works for landmine survivor’s rights. It is an amazing organization run by a landmine survivor herself, who works tirelessly to ensure other victims get the assistance and access to rights they need.
However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I have been unable to work for this organization so far. Despite this not being the internship I had originally prepared for, instead I have been mostly working with Mines Action Canada (MAC) which is the Canadian partner organization. This was not what I was initially expecting, but the circumstances were out of my control and I am completely understanding and respectful of the situation. Instead of stressing, I embraced my role with MAC as I was doing work that would support ULSA and still was working toward a mine free world.
Now, I have the unique opportunity to work for the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, a professional connection that my MAC supervisor set up for me. When ULSA is available to take me on, I could potentially be working for the two organizations at the same time. Although this was not at all how I expected my internship to go, I am grateful for the learning experience that when working internationally, unexpected situations can arise, and adaptations will need to be made. Adapting to real world professional situations is something that can only be learned through actual experience; I am pleased to be part of this internship for the important lessons it teaches about the professional world that can only be spoken about in the academic world.
Reflecting on the changes in my internship reminds me that everything may not go as planned, and that is okay. There is nothing wrong with a change in situation, as long as you are willing to adapt- which in the professional world, you will need to be! Adapting to unexpected changes is a matter of understanding that you are a piece of a bigger puzzle that comes together to work towards the same goal. Even though I am not doing exactly what I thought, I am still supporting organizations that are striving for a safer and more peaceful world.