As I’m coming to the end of my time with Winrock, I’ve started to reflect on my goals for this internship and how they have changed over the course of the summer. When I originally interviewed for this internship I thought I would be in a foreign country, working hands-on with my fellow co-workers on my assigned projects. Instead, I’ve been virtual the entire time.
How different this summer turned out to be! While being virtual has created some technical and social challenges and has been frustrating at times, it has also allowed me better flexibility to see family and friends and meet other personal professional requirements state-side. In fact, I may not have been able to meet some of my other personal professional requirements outside of law if I had not remained in the United States, and I am forever grateful that Winrock has been able to work with my schedule to accommodate these requirements.
Though I am sad I have not seen Jamaica in person, nor met my many wonderful co-workers in person, I have had an incredibly positive summer working with Winrock. I have developed new skills with virtual office tools that I have previously not used, and I have a virtual network of incredible people who are making real, lasting change throughout the world that I’m sure I will continue to interface with long after this internship ends. I would not have met many of these people if this experience hadn’t been virtual.
Today, I gave my final presentation and findings to my international team on the interviews and report I’ve been working on concerning sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) in Jamaica. It’s humbling that the work I’ve been doing will be presented to the Ministry of Tourism in Jamaica and the United States State Department as part of the Jamaica CPC project, and that I was able to contribute in a way that has such tangible results. A lot of work went into the project, and when I think of all the adjustments that were continuous as I did research and found that interview timelines were held up by virtual issues caused by working in a COVID-19 environment, or just the fact that I wasn’t physically in Jamaica, I’m amazed at how much the project was able to accomplish with the help of my teammates in such a short time.
International development and policy work truly is a team effort, and I am very grateful that I got to share in this experience at Winrock International. My team has generously promised to keep in touch concerning the project, and I will definitely be tracking the progression of the Jamaica CPC project as a whole.