Adopt an Intern CEO, Joy Lewis, recently bumped into AAI Alumni, Jackie Farr who interned for Mary’s Meals in Malawi through AAI. Having not long finished her internship and now in a full-time permanent role with Malawi Partnership, Jackie took the time to answer a few questions about her time as an intern...
Q. Tell me about yourself?
A. My name is Jackie Farr, I’m 24 years old and live in Edinburgh. I changed my career aspirations so many times growing up I lost track! I left school in 2008 and went straight to university to study Primary Teaching. I quickly realised this wasn’t the right career-path for me so I switched courses to Art History and managed one day before coming to my senses; that university, then, wasn’t for me.
While figuring out my next move, I got a job as an Accounts Assistant (I really liked maths) but, after working in accounting, realised I didn’t like maths that much...I told you I changed my career-path a lot!
I had a year out, working, traveling and deciding what I wanted to do before opting to go back to university; this time to study Broadcast Production and I absolutely loved it. The course was very creative and engaging, it concentrated on practical skills needed for the creative industries which was invaluable teaching and exactly what I was looking for - there’s only so much you can learn from books!
After four years, I gained a first class degree but was faced with a daunting prospect; what do I do now? I didn’t have job lined up and I didn’t have bags of experience that I could use to get a job. I think I was one of those people who thought, if I got a degree I’d be sorted for the real world, and that just wasn’t so.
After much research I found a Masters course in Digital Journalism that I really wanted to explore and this time, I was determined to and did gain lots of experience. While writing my dissertation I began to search for graduate opportunities and stumbled upon the AAI website where I saw an internship advertised with Mary’s Meals.
Q. Tell me about Mary’s Meals, the organisation you were interning for.
Mary’s Meals have a very simple vision: that all children have the right to food and education. They run school feeding programmes all over the world and are currently feeding over 890,000 children every school day.
Q. What was your role as an intern there?
As a Media and Communications Intern, my role with Mary’s Meals in Malawi was to work with the teams in Scotland and Malawi to brainstorm fundraising initiatives, create engaging video and picture content for social media and the website and gather stories to support the work they were doing in Malawi.
Q. What was the highlight of your internship?
I had many highlights from my time in Malawi; from witnessing the joy on the faces of children who receive a simple mug of porridge to meeting all the volunteers and teachers who run the feeding programmes in the schools, it was incredible to be a part of something so simple, yet so effective in helping children stay in school and gain an education.
Q. How do you think you have benefited from doing an internship abroad?
I’ve always loved to travel, but I never thought I would have the possibility to work abroad, especially in such an amazing role. The internship opened my eyes to global issues and a possible career in international development and allowed me to gain experience in this area, something I’m not sure I would have fully understood if I had only worked in the UK.
Q. What have you learnt during your internship?
I’ve learned a lot about the Media and Communications role, as well as my own personal development. Working abroad gave me confidence and really made me see which skills I need to develop further, and which areas of communication I liked, and which I didn’t.
Q. Overall how have you found the 'Adopt an Intern' experience?
From the initial stages of applying for the internship, to physically being in Malawi, the whole AAI experience was very simple and supportive. Even now that internship is over, AAI are still interested in where I am now and keen to see how I’m getting on, which I think is very unique and encouraging to potential interns. I even met Joy Lewis on a train and we spent the journey chatting about my internship and the experience I had, but it felt like I was chatting to a friend, not an agency.
AAI seems to really care about the interns they place and I think it’s important that potential interns know they’ll be well looked after if they apply.