CO-OP Student of the Month of December 2018
Program: Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in Conflict Studies and Human Rights and Minor in Aboriginal Studies
In search of an adventure, I opted to spend my first CO-OP term in Gurgaon, India, where I interned with a grassroots NGO called HEEALS (Health, Education, Environment and Livelihood Society). I am enrolled in the Conflict Studies and Human Rights program, so I found that working in the NGO sector was directly relevant to my academic discipline, and beyond this, I learned lessons that are unique to working in a developing country. Every aspect of my summer – my work environment, my living accommodations, my weekends spent exploring the diverse and extraordinary country of India – gave me an opportunity to practice adaptability and my capacity to step out of my comfort zone with ease. I believe these skills will assist me in both my career and my personal life.
The highlight of my CO-OP term was a small-scale development project that my colleague Rachel Leistra and I created and implemented over the summer. Rachel and I raised 34% more than our initial goal of $3500, and so with help from our employer and NGO founder Gaurav Kashyap, we distributed 40 reverse osmosis/manual water filters in schools and communities across Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, two northwestern states in India. We were involved in every step of the implementation process, including writing proposals, fundraising, budgeting, distribution, monitoring and evaluation, which was an incredibly unique experience. Furthermore, we had a chance to meet those who would benefit from our work, which gave a deeper meaning to the entire project.
My time in India taught me valuable lessons that will be of interest to future employers. But beyond this, it provided me with memories and lasting friendships from across the globe. What more could you ask for from a summer CO-OP experience!
I am incredibly grateful for my CO-OP experiences and look forward to seeing where they take me next.