This past summer I had the great pleasure of being a Communications and Knowledge Unit intern at the World Food Programme at the Regional Bureau in Panamá. With my double major in International Development and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, I found that this opportunity was perfect for me to discover more about working as a humanitarian as well as improve my Spanish ability. I am so thankful for the Susan Casey Brown Fund and the McGill International Experience Awards that allowed me to pursue my dream internship this past summer and achieve my goals.
Coming into this experience I was nervous and excited as I was not experienced in communications nor fluent in Spanish, however throughout the summer I was able to expand my knowledge on both. I developed a better understanding of how the World Food Programme is working towards the UN’S Sustainable Goal #2 – Zero Hunger. Every aspect of my work included a part of achieving Zero Hunger by 2030. Some of the projects I was able to gain knowledge on were the technical assistance that WFP provided on the droughts that are occurring in the Dry Corridor in Central America, the distributions and support for the Migrants in Colombia and Ecuador, and their partnership with Cocina con Causa to promote foods that can help decrease anaemia. I was particularly interested in migration and was able to write articles and hear first-hand about the World Food Programme’s support of migrants in Latin America.
Many of my daily tasks consisted of revising documents, translating press releases or articles from Spanish to English and vice versa, analysing the social media of the World Food Programme and creating reports and presentation. I was also tasked with monitoring the daily news to analyse how the World Food Programme was appearing in the Spanish media and then reporting these articles to their headquarters. A highlight from the summer was an Environmental Day at the Regional Office in which we created poster boards, a game and held talks in order to raise awareness of Climate Change and the enviroment and the initiatives for greening the office.
Throughout my time I was constantly encouraged to pursue my own interests in and am quite grateful for the opportunities that my colleagues provided me as I was encouraged to pursue my interests and use my Spanish. I developed many skills and learned a lot about working at the UN and advanced my Spanish tremendously. I became more comfortable with public speaking and interacting in an enviroment that was unknown to me. I matured a lot this summer in both the professional and personal field and have learned to always take advantage of every opportunity. After this summer I know that I want to continue working in the development sector and will use this invaluable experience to build on my career. I am very proud of what I have accomplished this summer and am grateful for all of the friends and connections that I was able to make during my internship this summer.