As I conclude my time in university, I’ve been expanding my experiences to help me figure out where I’d like to be a part of in this field. I wanted to find an opportunity to be involved with the behind-the-scenes work of a non-governmental organisation (NGO). AFAP’s vision and mission statements, along with the values of the organisation, align with the driving factors behind why it is that I want to be a part of this work. It was important for me to be in an environment where good work was actually being done and the people behind the scenes genuinely care about everything they do. I found a home with the AFAP family and had the opportunity to experience the inner workings of a small NGO that produces big results.
My role as an intern has been jam-packed with learning moments and responsibility that has helped me to realise how much I enjoy this work. In America, there is a stigma that as an intern you do not really get to do much other than make coffee runs or file papers, whereas in Australia, interns are treated as members of the team and are able to contribute and be involved in their learning experience. I have been given exposure to the process of attaining government funding, the effort needed to create an annual report, as well as being a part of meetings aimed to address community members and galvanise Australians about development work. I’ve learned that it takes a passionate person to get this work done, from planning it to seeing it all the way through. I leave knowing that however minute my impact on this organisation was, I’ve helped to improve the lives that AFAP’s programs touch, which is priceless.
I’ve reached the end of my time at AFAP, as well as my time in Australia, and I’m preparing to head back to the United States and finish my last semester of university. I now have a clearer understanding of where it is that I’d like to place myself in the realm of international development and global health. I would like for my next steps to include higher education and more international experience both in the field and behind the scenes with an organisation. The complexity of this type of work increases the amount of options that I have. I am working to one day become a driving force in an organisation helping to improve the lives of people from my community, focusing on the Caribbean. If there was anything I learned from my time at AFAP, it’s that I can accomplish a lot with true motivation.
Thank you to the incredible team at AFAP both here in Australia and in Vietnam for welcoming a hard-working college student trying to find her place in the world – together we can make it a better place.