Fortunate to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures

Faculty of Social Sciences
From the Field

By Nanxi

Communications Intern, Forum of Federations

Glass Earth Globe
Glass Earth Globe
Glass Earth Globe
«Working with the people in the NGO is a joyful experience. Their passion and dedication to their work is inspiring and I have learned a lot from them.»

Program of Study: Sociology
Canadian NGO: Forum of Federations
Virtual Internship Countries: Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia

I am currently working as a remote intern at Forum of Federations, where my focus is on developing gender inclusion.  Since I was a child, I have had a dream of helping people in difficult situations and doing what I can to improve their life circumstances. Coupled with the influence of my family, the desire to work in an NGO seemed like a calling. When I entered college, my chosen major, subject direction, and internship focus were all related to gender and children.

During the summer of my second year of university, I worked briefly at an NGO in Beijing that helps children with congenital heart disease, but I had no experience at all with internships in Canada. So, a few days before the internship started, I was very apprehensive that I would not be able to adapt to the new environment. In addition, although I had been learning about gender theory and other things in class, I had not yet done any fieldwork or practice in the MENA region, and for this internship, I have changed countries every three weeks to complete a different task. However, this structure takes me across different cultural settings that require me to develop my skills of adaptability when facing language barriers and different ways of working.

Working with the people in the NGO is a joyful experience. Their passion and dedication to their work is inspiring and I have learned a lot from them. I have been fortunate to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures, which has broadened my horizons and exposed me to new ways of thinking.

As of today, the projects I am working on are interesting and allow me to be reflective about what I have learned. For example, when writing bios of women leaders from various regions, I am often inspired by their experiences: the Pakistani girl who was attacked by terrorists for supporting girls' education, the Indian women who were arrested and imprisoned for calling for women's empowerment, etc. Instead of giving up, these setbacks made them more determined to continue their chosen path. Through these projects, I have gained a deeper understanding of the complexities of gender equality. I realize that gender equality is not just about ensuring equal opportunities for women, but also about creating an enabling environment in which they can thrive. This requires a concerted effort from policymakers, civil society organizations and the private sector.

In addition, because it is a remote internship, I face the challenge of time differences. the hours of operation of the NGO in the MENA region are different from my time zone, which meant that I must adjust my work schedule to ensure that I am available when I need to be.

Throughout few weeks, I learned that gender equality is not only a moral imperative, but also an economic one. When women are empowered, they can contribute more effectively to their families, communities, and economies. Through this internship, I hope to enrich my theoretical knowledge while also truly contributing a little bit of myself, and that every effort towards gender equality is a step towards a better world for all.