Interns to experience "life-growing" placement in Uganda

Douglas College graduates and faculty will be among a group of 20 who will call Uganda home for the

Melissa Paluch in Uganda. Wendy Parry photo.

next six months.

The College received federal funding to host the International Youth Internship Program that will see post-secondary graduates from across Canada complete internships in the east African country while gaining experience in education, health and social services. The group left for Uganda on Sept. 23.

“This is a way for Canadian graduates to gain life experience,” said Douglas College instructor Janice Spencer, who is heading the project with fellow faculty member John Fox. “We’re all going in as learners.”

Spencer, who has gone to Uganda five times in previous years, said the trips are a “life-growing experience.”

Douglas College graduate Melissa Pulach will be returning to Uganda after 12 months. Pulach, who is in the Child and Youth Care Counsellor program, previously volunteered with the College’s Uganda Project as she was wrapping up her diploma in Early Childhood Education.

“I’m so excited to go back,” she said. “I fell in love with Uganda – not just the country, but the people and the culture.”

The 28-week paid internships are broken into three job categories: community education worker, community health worker and community social service worker. Interns will use their skills as bridge-builders in the community while taking on various projects – including working with local, grass-root organizers, the Masaka Regional Hospital and the Uganda Community Libraries Association.

“We will be supporting the identified needs in the community and working to fill the gap,” Spencer said.

The federal funding will send 40 interns in total over the next two years and will support intern salaries, travel and accommodations, as well as faculty time and travel. In order to qualify, Canadian youth must be between the ages of 19 to 30 and be post-secondary graduates of a diploma or degree program.

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