For 10 weeks, I rolled out of bed at 6:30 A.M in order to catch the train that took me into downtown Toronto. I would get off the Spadina streetcar and walk over to 20 Maud Street. On most days, I would be the first one to arrive at YCI’s office. I would prepare for the coming day by looking over my To Do List. Now that school has started, I almost miss the 6:30 AM alarm clock.
To put it simply: my time at YCI was fantastic! When I first started the internship, I didn’t realize how much I was going to learn about not only the organization and international development, but also about myself. YCI is just so… real! The people, the mission, and the values are aligned with everything that I think makes an excellent international development agency. As nerdy as this may sound, I loved learning about the history of YCI; it’s really impressive that the organization evolved so much over the past twenty years and has partnered with a variety of grassroots organizations. As an International Development student, I loved seeing the things I’ve been learning in school put into practice. Due to my YCI internship, this was the summer I put things into perspective. I now know that I want to whole-heartily pursue a career in international development and hopefully work in the non-profit sector.
In early July, YCI alums were invited to attend a reception at La Citadelle hosted by the Governor General in honour of Quebec City’s 400th anniversary. Although I was never an YCI overseas volunteer, I asked Erin if I could go. Lucky for me, she said yes! So three YCI alums and I drove to Quebec City to attend the reception, and it was just beautiful! There was great live music and performances, good food, and the backdrop was the Saint Lawrence River.
Although my internship at YCI has ended, I’m happy to say that I’m still involved. I’m the Campus Connector for McGill University, and I’m hoping to become a volunteer next summer. And of course, I will one day become an YCI alum!
-Ahila Poologaindran, Summer Intern