Kateri Heymans

Intern Name: Kateri Heymans

Major: Peace Studies 

Title/Place of Internship: Volunteer Coordinator and Marketing Intern at ACAF/Friends of Chimbote in Chimbote, Peru

How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?

I was contacted by the Executive Director of the NGO in Peru and asked to move there and work there. Thanks to CELA I had the money to go there for 10 weeks during the summer.

What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?

-Prepare for, coordinate and plan for volunteer groups.
-Care for, lead, and facilitate volunteer groups in Chimbote.
-Do follow up work after volunteer trips.
-Writing testimonies.
-Helped with marketing in whatever the office needed me to do (Examples include: sell bingo cards at universities, sell bakery items at a market, sell raffles at a city festival)
-Accompanied social workers in their house visits.

What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?

Being in another country and working at an NGO in which I was the only non-Peruvian was a great experience to see how they worked culturally, and to see the amazing things they were doing.
It was beneficial to see how an NGO works, and the challenges that come with it.
Also it was good to see how the Peruvians knew better what they were doing, and often foreigners that came (including myself) thought they/we knew a lot more than they/we did.

What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.?

It was incredible the amazing things that ACAF was doing! They are now using business to self sustain themselves financially.

How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?

I want to do International NGO work, so this was perfect experience for me.
So many of the mistakes I made and learned from in regards to working in the NGO realm and working with communities living in poverty, will prepare me to do better work in the future.

What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?

Open yourself to what may be possible for you. I never would have imagined I could have spent a summer abroad due to money. Follow what you want to do.

(October 2018)