Internships Abroad

Working Virtually in Ecuador

July 9, 2020
By Jason Wu, CAS '22

Over the summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work as a virtual intern for Manna Project International. Manna is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving underserved people of impoverished communities in Sangloqui, Ecuador. They have different community programs based on their three pillars: health, education, and livelihood. For my internship, I chose to work in the Program Design and Evaluation team. With a group of three other interns, our goal was to review existing programs and propose new programs that would benefit the community.

One of my main projects was developing a new curriculum for our adult English classes. Although the previous curriculum was effective, the completion of each English class did not correlate to any standardized English proficiency levels. Therefore, I worked on building a new pilot adult English class using textbooks, as well as incorporating any relevant past material. Initially, having no experience creating lesson plans, it was a challenge to create the schedules, worksheets, quizzes, and homework needed for each class. However, after crafting several lesson plans, I became very familiar with how to set up each class successfully. I’m confident that the pilot English program will run smoothly in the fall.

Additionally, with a partner, I drafted proposals for new Health and Livelihood programs including a community clean-up initiative, a teen drug/alcohol abuse prevention seminar, and a sex education program. Based on a needs assessment taken in the past, these three programs were highly requested by community members. Hopefully, in the fall, these programs will be up and running and address the needs of our community members.

Outside of these projects I worked on, I also maintained a language exchange partner in Ecuador. Through Zoom, we were able to discuss various topics every week including our hobbies, cultural norms, and current events. This incredible opportunity allowed for further immersion in this virtual abroad internship. I was able to gain deeper insight into different global perspectives. Moreover, given that I rarely had the chance to speak Spanish since high school, I was thrilled to practice my conversational skills with a native speaker. In addition, Manna provided a series of seminars with their local partners where I learned more about the community work being done in Sangloqui. Although I didn’t get the opportunity to visit these sites like originally planned before going virtual, it was fascinating to hear about the incredible work these organizations are doing for underserved communities. Lastly, Manna also provided professional workshops, including a National and International Development training and Effective Communication training. These trainings helped me develop important skills for working in a professional environment and a better understanding of the non-profit community development field.

Overall, I really enjoyed my internship with Manna. Although it was originally a disappointment to learn that the internship was being switched to online, I grew to appreciate the flexibility and comfort of working from home. This internship has definitely helped me grow professionally and shed light on what I’m hoping to pursue in the future.