Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Zambia intern gets new outlook on life

By Emma Hughes

I walked down the dusty road in Kitwe, Zambia, holding Joseph, our adventurous, troublemaking four-year-old neighbour, on my hip. As usual, the sun was beating down through the trees onto the kids playing soccer on our front lawn. Moments like this are why I decided to come to Zambia: playing with the kids, learning their language and making a difference just by being there.

I joined the program in hopes I would utilize the skills I had learned through the Douglas College Theatre Program and teaching drama classes at the YMCA. When I arrived, I realized that it would become much more than that. My goal of becoming a drama and English teacher was being realized, along with using my public speaking skills as a debate coach and sexual education counsellor in high schools in the area.

The education I received through my two years at Douglas is more than many people in Zambia could ever achieve, and by passing it on I made at least a small difference in the lives I entered for three months.

The program has had such a deep impact on me and the way that I see the world that I could never classify it as a vacation. It is hard work that brings about change to you and those around you. Living in an entirely different world, with entirely different values, cultural practices and religion, is an extremely trying experience that I am more than happy to have encountered.

I know I have made a difference in the lives of the youth that I have taught and interacted with. I know that I have grown as an intercultural person, and have contributed, however small, to the development of another nation. The Zambia Global Leadership Program has impacted my outlook on life, as well as my plans for the future. It is something that will be with me for the rest of my life, as well as the community I have supported.

Emma is one of nine Douglas students finishing up a three-month internship through Douglife's Zambia Global Leadership Program. To find out more about the participants' experiences in Zambia, read their blogs.