In Their Own Words: Katie Pett ’13.5

“In Their Own Words” is an ongoing series featuring the experiences of Middlebury students at their summer internships. This summer Katie Pett ’13.5  interned with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA in Kampala and Gulu, Uganda.

Katie and Students at Mulago Child Project in Kampala, Uganda

What did you do?

Through “New England Global Issues Internship 2012 – Uganda, East Africa” I had five weeks of witnessing, engaging, discussing, and processing a variety of global issues within Uganda, leaving me with a wealth of personal connections, eye-opening experiences, and long-term life lessons. The New England Global Issues Internship – Uganda, East Africa is an initiative by the New England region of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA to engage college and university students in global issues (such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, reintegration of children affected by war, etc.) through first-hand experience with  those issues.

The internship also took us to two distinct regions within Uganda. We began in the urban center of Kampala and then traveled to the rural north in Gulu. They each presented distinct global issues and cultural experiences. While in Kampala, we experienced urban poverty and the center of Ugandan economics and politics. We worked through FOCUS’ headquarters in Kampala to visit secondary schools and give lessons, lead discussion groups in the community, built a security fence,  visited the sick at Mulago Hospital, as well as went door-to-door in the Kampala slums to meet the people living there.  In Gulu, however, we worked through Sport’s Outreach – Gulu. While making door-to-door visits, running a medical clinic, and visiting the Gulu prisons, we saw the effects of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as well as the problems rural poverty presents. The exposure to these two regions provided a more detailed perspective of the country and the variety of cultures and issues facing it.

What did you learn?

            I learned a tremendous amount during this internship. I not only gained exposure to global issues, but this internship also provided numerous opportunities to discuss and learn more about those issues in a larger context. This gave me a much deeper understanding of global issues in a manner simply not possible in the United States alone. I also gained invaluable cross-cultural experience within my team as well as in our various projects throughout the community.

What are your plans for the future?

            As an African Studies minor, this internship gave me first-hand experience within the continent. It also provided native perspective on some historical leaders I had studied (ie. Idi Amin). This trip has confirmed and deepened my desire to work internationally in a faith-based organization. There are still many, many possibilities for that type of work, but it has given me connections within the field and a broader awareness of what opportunities are available.

Think this experience sounded pretty cool? Check out opportunities like this and more on MOJO.