Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

An Empowering Virtual Internship in Nicaragua

Q&A with Hannah: Virtual Internship in Nicaragua
Share this
Print this
Hannah
Virtual Internship in Nicaragua
Her thoughts on Virtual Work Skills
As part of the first-ever virtual intern cohort, trial and error were a natural part of the process! But collaboration prevailed and we adjusted to all the features of video call software.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
I researched Nicaraguan sport and fitness in attempts to make anatomy class a little more interesting -- but personal encounters always triumph over research!
Her thoughts on Virtual Work Skills
Patience is the most useful tool when working with technology, as the solution is usually simple and achieved by remaining calm. Frozen faces, delayed responses and technical difficulties were guaranteed!
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
All cultures have different ways of seeing things. We see the world through a biased lens, regardless of our best intentions. Challenging conversations can help us learn and grow.
Her thoughts on Cultural Differences
Teaching in a new culture, I knew I had to expand my understanding of health and science in the region to teach successfully.

Less than a month into the pandemic, it became apparent that my plans for spending the summer semester abroad had been derailed. That is, until I received an email with the subject line, "Virtual Summer Internship with Outreach360"! Suddenly, there was a new field of possibility for cross-cultural experience. I remember letting out a soft chuckle as my millennial self recalled life before the internet – I assumed that I had missed my chance to learn in a global setting, but I hadn’t considered the possibilities the internet allows. I immediately knew I wanted to apply for the program, which I would be able to undertake while continuing my studies at Algonquin College.  

My first experience with Outreach360 was during a reading week volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic in 2019. That trip left me with great respect for the non-profit sector. My recent virtual international internship experience was also with Outreach360, and took place over the course of a month in the spring of 2020. I worked as a Health and Science ESL Teacher with students in Jinotega, Nicaragua, entirely over Zoom.

As part of the first-ever virtual internship cohort, trial and error were a natural part of the process. But collaboration and unity prevailed! We learned to lean on each other in moments of confusion. As we adjusted to the endless features of video call software, our communication methods were tweaked and modified as we trekked onwards. The small but dedicated leadership team at Outreach360 ensured we delivered optimal education to our students abroad. As interns, the team empowered and equipped us to do our best by offering conversational Spanish lessons, virtual tours of Nicaragua and group discussions on leadership and social change.

Bridging my health and fitness background with youth engagement, I first refreshed my knowledge to ensure I could break down key concepts for each level of English comprehension. As a teacher in a different culture, I knew I had to expand my understanding of health and science in the region to teach successfully. I researched Nicaraguan sport and fitness in attempts to make anatomy class a little more interesting. As baseball is the national sport, I intended to teach the arm muscles by discussing the swing of the bat, and the leg muscles used to run from base to base, and so on. Within five minutes of my first day, I had learned that none of my students particularly cared for baseball! While I had the right intentions to learn about the country, assumptions ultimately serve no one, and the personal encounter always triumphs over research.

Being an effective teacher requires a committed openness to learning and allowing yourself to be a student once in a while. The leadership team was always available for assistance and offered constructive advice. At the close of each day, we spent time reflecting and discussing how our classes went. Being honest about our faults and highlighting our successes, we would set intentions to make the next day even better.

One day towards the end of class, I opened the floor for general inquiries to prompt a class discussion of choice. A student asked, "What's your opinion on depression and anxiety, and what science points to a cure?" The question was wrapped in uncertainty and took me by surprise. Campus mental health fairs, free resources and awareness campaigns had been part of my personal experience for the past four years, and the question made the disparity between Canadian and Nicaraguan social norms obvious. The student who asked was looking for a scientific explanation for depression, and I knew I had information to share. I took a moment to collect my thoughts, which allowed me to deliver a physiologically and psychologically sound explanation that would hopefully connect across cultures. 

For the most part, all cultures have different ways of seeing things. We all see the world through a biased lens, regardless of our best intentions. As the sole Canadian on a team of American interns, there were times I even felt the variations between our neighbouring cultures. In social discussions, there were times I needed to listen and times I needed to speak. While there were appropriate times during the internship to challenge preconceived notions and cultural norms, it was always done within the internship unit and never in front of students. Challenging conversations helped us learn and grow, and healthy conflict resolution provoked an ability to see things through a different lens. With the shared goal to educate and empower students, differences got put aside to deliver the best lesson possible.

For a remote city in central Nicaragua, heavy rainfall knocked the internet out. Frozen faces, delayed responses and technical difficulties became a guarantee. Patience is the most useful tool when dealing with technology, as the solution is usually simple and achieved by remaining calm.

In moments of confusion, the students' creativity shone through. Emojis served as a valuable chat tool to ensure everyone was on the same page, digital painting tools helped explain large concepts, and Google Earth allowed us to travel without leaving our desks. We hailed ourselves the 'Jaguar Crew' after class discussions on why the animal is considered jungle royalty. In resilience, speed and power, we incorporate the teachings of nature into our understanding of individual potential.

Jinotega has remained in my mind since the internship. First, the resilience of the students made an impression. Attending lessons on their smart phones, with screens no larger than five inches, they were still eager to learn. Also, during a virtual tour of the city, a teacher from the community highlighted an unassuming building. It was a former prison, later turned into a school and painted all the colours of the rainbow. I found this metaphor breath-taking. Education is indisputably a powerful wellspring, and youth are leading the way with their dedicated involvement. As the world continually changes with new technologies developed, I believe virtual learning will remain a powerful industry and means of connecting.

If you are considering a virtual internship or service abroad: do it! Recognizing a new way of learning and communication opens numerous doors. You discover skills you might have not otherwise found and meet insightful people along the way. Undertake a new modality, learn a new way and seize the opportunity to evolve the earth! When you feel fear and do something anyway, you empower yourself and open a cascade of empowerment into your community!

Bridging youth engagement and health promotion, I facilitate learning environments to equip participants with knowledge on personal health and well-being. I'm currently a student at Algonquin College. After graduation, to further my education and service capacities, I plan to become a nutritionist and work on asset-based community development projects within grassroots and non-profit organizations. Jinotega is unquestionably at the top of my international travel list, and I hope to carry my future expertise on more global adventures.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher, MyWorldAbroad

We love Hannah’s thoughtful and poetic take on her virtual cross-cultural experience! It's clear that she has already honed in on her passion for health sciences and international non-profit work, and we commend her for making the most of her cross-cultural opportunities during this challenging time. Because of her specialty and interest in development work, we recommend that Hannah investigates volunteer and internship opportunities with international NGOs working in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Such opportunities often allow for long-term in-person immersion, as well as hands-on skill-building and work experience. As a globally minded professional, the more diverse your experiences abroad, the more perspective you'll gain. We also recommend that she takes time to reflect on the many international skills she has built, and to incorporate them into her resume. We wish Hannah luck as she continues on the path towards her exciting and meaningful global career!

Check out the articles and resources below (for registered users):

Hannah's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
10 Global Competencies
Take control of your career with this ESSENTIAL model!
Virtual Internships in 2022!
Remote work is the way of the future! Start planning YOUR virtual international internship now.
The 1-Year & 4-Year Global Mindset Maps!
Don't miss your blueprint for success! Set goals & take action to build the Global You.
The Global You
What skills, knowledge and experiences can change your life? Find out with this NEW model!
The Culture Tree
EXPLORE the three levels of culture!
Quizzes & Scorecard
Take these simple quizzes to assess your international skills, experiences & job search readiness!
16174
- # of # Filtered -
  • 102
102
16392
Building International Career Skills Online
1
16382
Making the Most of Lockdown with a Virtual Internship
2
16320
Independent, International, Virtual! A UN Internship Online
3
16312
Virtual Internship for a Cross-cultural Future
4
16157
Zoom Zoom! A Virtual Internship with Central America
5
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
6
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
7
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
8
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern in Rome
9
15631
An International Career in the Making: Asia, Africa and Beyond
10
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
11
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
12
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
13
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
14
9773
Independent In India
15
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
16
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
17
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
18
16316
Exploring the Sights, Sounds & Tastes of Mexico City
19
16387
An Epic Internship in Malaysia
20
9756
Springtime In Spain
21
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
22
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
23
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
24
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
25
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
26
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
27
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
28
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
29
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
30
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
31
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
32
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
33
9754
Building Memories In India
34
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
35
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
36
9748
Adventure In The Alps
37
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
38
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
39
9762
American Freshman In London
40
9771
Learning To Love London
41
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
42
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
43
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
44
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
45
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
46
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
47
9741
Adapting to Work In Peru
48
9784
Skill-building in Bonn
49
9753
A Season in Sweden
50
9765
Simpatico in Florence
51
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
52
9737
Passionate About Panama
53
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
54
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
55
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
56
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
57
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
58
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
59
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
60
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
61
16174
An Empowering Virtual Internship in Nicaragua
62
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
63
16161
A Bright & Friendly Cross-cultural Workspace
64
16017
A Globally-minded Visit to Qatar
65
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
66
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
67
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
68
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
69
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
70
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
71
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
72
14088
An Eye-opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
73
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
74
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
75
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
76
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
77
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
78
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
79
15644
Discovering the World on Campus: International Skills at Home
80
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
81
9752
Giving In Guatemala
82
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
83
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
84
9787
A Spring Semester in London
85
9807
Fast Friendship in Korea
86
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
87
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
88
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
89
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
90
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
91
10851
Tips From Tasmania
92
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
93
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
94
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
95
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
96
10157
Changing Course In China
97
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
98
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
99
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
100
10192
Out And About In Paris
101
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
102
16174
All Job Boards
460
All NGOs
1434
Au Pair Resources
40
Awards And Grants Resources
60
Business Directories
22
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
32
Children And Families Abroad
18
Consulting, Economic And Finance Job Boards
63
Country Guides
101
Cross-cultural Skills
83
Engineering Job Boards
62
Engineering Resources
79
Expatriate Networking Sites
36
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
27
General Job Search Books
17
Global Education And Social Action
64
Health And Medicine Job Boards
52
Health Career Resources
71
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
43
International Development Career Resources
84
International Internship Organizations
314
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
35
International Internships With The US Government
38
International Job Hunting Resources
17
International Law Careers Resources
114
International Law Job Boards
28
International Studies In The US And Canada
11
International Trade Resources
23
International Volunteer Organizations
497
Internship Directories And Advice
51
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
159
Language Careers
34
Learn A Language
114
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
36
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
40
Loans for Studying Abroad
18
Low-cost Travel
72
NGO Directories
34
NGO Job Boards
51
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
110
Relocating Abroad
29
Resources For International Students Studying In Canada
17
Resources For International Students Studying In The US
48
Stories From Abroad
102
Study Abroad Resources
195
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
104
Teach English Abroad Resources
78
Tools for Travelers
94
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
86
Travel Health And Safety
56
UN and Other IGOs
271
UN And Other IGOs Job Boards
27
UN And Other IGOs Resources
75
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
45
Virtual International Internship Organizations
93
Volunteer Directories And Advice
63
Women Living And Working Overseas
19
Working Holiday Resources
79