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In March 2009, I embarked as a Youth Ambassador for the YCI Ghana program. Prior to YCI I had experience volunteering internationally as an indepedent. At 19 years old I went to Vietnam to volunteer in a school for street youth, as well as the hearing impaired, and when I was 23 years old I had gone to Bangladesh as a CIDA intern.

So, I felt prepared to go to Ghana and offer my experience in the work project. However, little did I know the plethora of surprises that were in store for me as a new YCIer.  The joys of living and working in a group astounded me – and the challenges of being part of a team made me grow as a person.  With all the obstacles and successes of a work project, I was able to discover my leadership style in a group situation, specifically in the context of international development.  I made solid friendships (and not so solid ones), and came to know myself as a team member and not solely as an individual.

My experience with YCI increased my confidence as a young person with an ability to lead in her own style.  Today, I am a project supervisor with Canada World Youth, and I can say that YCI assisted in exposing me to the realities and joys of working with young people in a international team setting.

Mai Ngo and the rest of the YCI team with students at the YMCA Vocational Training School in Takoradi

- Mai Ngo, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2009

Want to learn what other YCI alumni are up to? Check out our blog’s Alumni Update category.

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