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Non-Profit Internship in Morocco
Employer: Cross Cultural Solutions
Description of the Organization
Cross-Cultural Solutions is an international not-for-profit organization with no political or religious affiliations. It was founded in 1995 and today, 25,000 people have participated in their volunteer programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. CCS has a worldwide staff of over 300 people in 12 countries and draws it's volunteers from all corners of the globe. Their mission is to operate volunteer programs around the world in partnership with sustainable community initiatives, bringing people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding.
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
For the first week of my internship, I worked in an orphanage. Everyday I bathed, fed and played with mentally handicapped children and adults. The following three weeks, I taught an English class at the East West Foundation to refugees from Cote Ivoire, Nigeria, and other countries as well as one for local Moroccans. While interning at CCS, I also did some research on women's rights and the new Moudawana (Family Law) in Morocco.
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
The nurses that I worked with at the orphanage only spoke Darija or French while my English students mostly spoke French, many could only speak Darija or Arabic and some spoke only Spanish. From this I not only learned a lot of Arabic and brushed up on my French, but learned how to communicate more effectively with people who speak different languages. I also learned organization and time management skills through putting together lesson plans. My research and interviews also gave me much more knowledge about Moroccan, North African and Middle Eastern politics and social issues. Most importantly, I gained a lot of confidence in doing things I'm not initially comfortable doing.
Favorite Part of the Experience
I loved being in such a beautiful country with an amazingly interesting culture that changes from city to city. However, my favorite part would have to be the vast array of people I met through the experience and the cool things they have taught me about their homes and cultures.
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
Working with CCS has helped to narrow down my focus for career goals and given me inspiration to continue my Arabic studies. I was encouraged to consider the peace corps as well as pursuing jobs at the embassy or local NGOs. I am excited about the connections I have made across the globe and hope to work with people like the CCS staff in the future.
All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GVSU.
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