Published Mon, Sep 25, 2023
Written by Dana Kaltenberger
Summer internships are often a pivotal point in a student's academic journey. They offer a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between theory and practice, gain real-world experience, and shape one's career aspirations.
This past summer, EduNations started an internship program which we think may have left an indelible mark on students’ personal and professional growth.
Of the seventy students that applied, only fifty young men and ten young women were admitted into the internship program.
The program started with an intensive two week training at Rokassa, where students were taught various skills including basic information, communication and technology skills, home-keeping, health, tailoring, and about professional work ethics and conduct. Covering such a broad array of topics, these trainings were delivered by facilitators from several different walks of life. After the two weeks training, these 60 students were distributed across different offices within Makeni, Freetown, and Kono.
In the major city of Makeni, home to EduNations’ headquarters, students served with various organizations including EduNations Inc,. EduNations MicroFinance, World Hope International, National Commission for Children, Bridge of Hope International, Kalpat Medical Centre, and the Rokel Commercial Bank.
Some students also served in various other areas of the country including with the Teaching Service Commission In Freetown, World Hope International in Kono, and in the Jericho Road Clinics in the villages of Rokassa and Kono.
The Internship program was not just about providing work experience for our students; they also provided the opportunity to network, to build lasting relationships. Students had the privilege of connecting with a diverse group of professionals who offered invaluable mentorship. These relationships extended beyond the office, as they attended outdoor administrative events and gatherings where they could network with leaders in their different fields. The connections they made during their internship will undoubtedly influence their career trajectory.
“Learning in the classroom is totally different than learning in the outside world. Before my internship, I had learned about accounting from the textbook, but working with the Finance Officer of EduNations, I practical experience which helped me apply what I’d learned,” relayed AbuBakarr Sacckoh.
“The Internship Program has helped me a lot, working with World Hope International, I have learned how to help the less privileged. Thinking of how I was helped, had it not been for EduNations, I don't know where I would have been.” Isata Sesay
“Amos Sesay has been so supportive in terms of attending meetings, like CFN, giving reports on meetings attended. Whatever that is dedicated to him, he delivers on time.” reports Mrs. Abi Nancy Sesay from the National Commission for Children.
“Isata and Isatu come to work on time, they are good communicators, they interact well, their performance, I will say, is good” comments Miss Fanta from World Hope International, Makeni.
Of course, no internship program is without its challenges. We encountered moments of inconsistency and times when we had to navigate ambiguity. However, these challenges also presented opportunities to learn and grow. For instance, there was one organization who turned down one of our students the very day they were to start work, reneging on their promises. Accommodation was also a challenge for some students coming from different communities to work in bigger towns. But we were able to address these issues with the help of some staff who reside in these areas.
Beyond these challenges, these internships contributed significantly to the personal growth of the students. Many of the students returned with renewed passion for their chosen careers or with new career aspiration. The exposure presented clarity beyond the classroom and helped cement their resolve to excel in their academics.
EduNations” Internship Coordinator, Isatu Dumbuya commented: “As I look back on the summer internship journey, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences and lessons it brought into the lives of the students. It was a period of growth, discovery, and transformation. It was a chance to learn, network, and grow in ways we never thought possible. The doors to success are now opened, and the internship program might just have been the keys that unlocked them. They are chapters in the lives of our students. All they now need to do is embrace them, learn from them, and allow these experiences to propel them toward a brighter future. “