Our students get around! In this section, you will find stories from our recently-returned fifth-year students. Their experiences were varied; and everyone came back with plenty of stories to tell. Click any of the flags on the map to see a story, or click through the pages at the bottom to see them all!
When I began to search for placement opportunities in my third year, my first instinct was to look outside the partner organizations that normally hire IDS Co-op students. I did this for a couple of reasons.
From 2010 – 2011, I was privileged to undertake a work placement at the Zambia Forum for Health Research (ZAMFOHR).
My IDS co-op placement took place in a rural village in Ghana, West Africa called Fotobi.
In October 2010 I arrived in Mae Hong Son, Thailand where I knew no one, and knew very little about what I would be doing at my awaiting job.
The first would have to be the NGO my friend/colleague started that taught kids to play basketball.
When I was applying to organizations at the start of 2010, there was only one thing that I knew for sure: I wanted to go to Latin America. I didn’t care where. I didn’t care how. I didn’t care when. I just needed to go.
As a student in the International Development Co-op program I was placed with the Center for Internet and Society, a research NGO based in Bangalore, India.
It is a good thing I resolved to have no expectations on placement, because even my trip to Nampula, Mozambique didn’t go as planned. The canceled flights weren’t a big issue, though; because I was so excited to be in a continent I had never been in.
Before arriving in Botswana, I thought I knew a thing or two about international development. In reality, I couldn’t possible have planned for the time that I spent there and the things that I experienced.
One of the biggest wake-up calls that placement gave me was the realisation that interpersonal trust matters. Before leaving for Hanoi, I had had this idea that my presence and work in Vietnam would by itself cause ‘capacity’ to be built.
After five traveling-abroad orientations, three days of pre-departure training plus two rather painful shots of vaccination, I thought I could not possibly be more prepared for my placement with WUSC.
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My two biggest concerns at the end of my 3rd year were not being able to find a placement in Latin America and learning adequate Spanish to be able to be productive on placement.
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From mid-2010 to mid-2011, I was lucky enough to spend a year in Gaborone, Botswana on my co-op placement.