Being a researcher means collecting data for the benefit of a larger organization. You become an integral part of a team; taking the time to find and present helpful information for that team. My team was a non-profit organization called ACDEV – Cameroon. ACDEV stands for Actions for Community Development and is based in Cameroon, Africa. Their work focuses on the education and empowerment of women and children. In my role as a virtual, abroad intern, I studied topics such as gender-based violence, internally displaced persons, HIV/AIDS, and most prominently the Anglophone Crisis. I created more than ten PowerPoint presentations, wrote two grant proposals, designed over a dozen educational flyers, and provided feedback on their various social media accounts.
This internship has influenced my undergraduate career for the better. Not only do I now have a new set of skills in which I can use beyond undergrad, like designing with “Canva”, applying for grants, and public speaking, but I also have broadened my horizons by learning about another culture. Personally, that has been the most meaningful part of my experience. My Cameroonian advisors took me in like one of their own and taught me about the daily struggles they endure, but also how they work tirelessly to overcome them. Their guidance has helped immensely with my future goals. I am working towards becoming a medical doctor who specializes in international care and/or serves underrepresented communities. They have provided me with a firsthand look into what healthcare is in a developing country, with a lack of access to preventative and ambulatory care. In addition to that though, they have displayed how they go on with courage and are grateful for what they do have instead of what they do not.
In my internship with ACDEV – Cameroon, I was met with unwavering support, encouragement, and grace. There was a time right in the middle of my work with them when I became sick. I was out of commission for an entire month, but they understood and offered me leniency on all of my assignments; postponing them until I was able to give my all again. They live in a society where health – physical and mental – comes first. There were a few differences I noticed between Cameroon and America throughout the internship, but this was one of the bigger ones. They are also more merciful with time. As I have noticed with several Eastern countries, time is a concept that we do not move around but rather moves around us. Deadlines can be adjusted, and meetings can run long. That idea of time has taught me to let go of control more and take things as they come. That new piece of me is definitely one I want to foster going forward in my career and as a person.
I would say to anyone considering participating in an internship such as this one to absolutely do it. It is worth it in every aspect. It is time-consuming and the workload can be demanding, but the work you are producing is helping people in need all the way across the world. It is a deeply rewarding experience that I would recommend to anyone who has a passion for humanities.
Katelyn Myers (BS Anthropology) participated in the Fall 2022 URaCE and Office of Study Abroad virtual research internship abroad to Cameroon through SIT Study Abroad. Katelyn had the following to say about the virtual internship abroad experience, “Virtually studying abroad is an amazing and unique way to connect with a whole other culture while producing meaningful work.“
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