After I completed my undergraduate degree in social/cultural anthropology, I knew I was interested in international social issues but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I applied for an international volunteer placement to get a feel for overseas development work that was taking place. I was accepted and sent to Costa Rica for 10 weeks doing development work and absolutely loved it. It was then that I was 100% sure I wanted to work in international development.
Having a love for travel, I decided to do my Masters in Australia and graduated with my MA in social change and development, while also volunteering for Oxfam Australia. After returning to Canada with diploma in hand, I found myself caught in the whole catch-22 of no experience = no job = no experience,’ which I’m sure many fresh graduates have to deal with. I began to apply for internships to gain experience in my field and was accepted for an internship with Oxfam Canada in the St. John’s office. How happy was I!?
During my involvement with Oxfam Australia, being a part of such a well-structured and well-respected organization made me feel like all contributions are valuable no matter how small, and it can be the little differences that make a big impact. Being back in Canada I was impressed with the fact that Oxfam Canada’s focus is on women’s rights and gender equality. These issues are such important underlying factors involved in almost all aspects of poverty and social justice; I thought hats off to Oxfam Canada’ for bringing them into focus. This is definitely an organization I am happy to contribute my time and effort towards; it is a very rewarding experience.
During my time with Oxfam I have been involved with an array of different Oxfam activities including the Public Services For All Campaign, organizing events, youth engagement and fundraising activities. Being able to assist in things such as writing grant proposals was a great learning opportunity. Having my internship close to Christmas was a great opportunity to get involved with promoting Oxfam’s Unwrapped program; producing materials, creating displays, and just talking to locals about alternative giving goes a long way!
The most rewarding experience as an Oxfam member is the great people I have met through my years of involvement and in particular here at the St. John’s office. Meeting people who really make a difference and seeing what kind of impact they make is both inspiring and rewarding. They inspire me with the drive to maintain my work in the development field and the reward of satisfaction to see what kind of difference one person can make.
Through my involvement with Oxfam I have gained new skills that I can take with me on my career path, and I have gained a new sense of awareness. Being able to see issues through several pairs of eyes really opens up your mind and awareness to these issues Oxfam is involved in. Seeing things from different perspectives has taught me to try to see and tackle issues from all angles, and to come up with the best possible answer or solution. I have learned a lot about field work and what it takes to achieve success on the ground and how much work it entails. I feel like it has prepared me in many ways for my own field work I look forward to in the future.