An Incredible Place

By Teresa Grandi, World YWCA Volunteer Intern 2012

Teresa Grandi

As a first year undergraduate, when deciding on the best work experience possible at that point in time I could hardly imagine anything other than making coffee and photocopies. I currently study anthropology and modern languages in England and my interest for gender studies and issues concerning human rights worldwide led me to apply for a one month internship at the World YWCA in Geneva, Switzerland. On first impression I found “the Y”, an incredible place to work in, where the working environment is supportive and welcoming. During the month spent interning, the tasks I was assigned varied, but I mainly focused on helping Juli Dugdale, World YWCA Global Programme Manager Women’s Leadership & Movement Building, plan and finalise her training trip to Nepal which took place in the beginning of May. I was happy to discover that the tasks I was asked to carry out often deepened my understanding and interest on issues of gender inequality around the world, particularly with regards to the countries involved in the Nepal training as I was asked to complete each participating countries’ profiles (Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Burma). I was also asked to design one of the exercises to be used in the training about the “Tamar Campaign”, this was one of the tasks I enjoyed the most as it allowed me to carry out personal research and to gain knowledge on a subject I knew close to nothing about beforehand. I would be lying if I said that helping Juli Dugdale plan the trip was an easy task, but the feeling of accomplishment on my last day, after seeing all that we organised, was priceless.

During my month as an intern, one of the things that impressed me the most about the organisation is the support system that the women at the Y have. The staff meetings welcomed everyone to cooperatively discuss and share what work had been carried out and questions from other members would usually follow. I found this aspect of Y life extremely impressive as it allowed for effective communication to happen among everyone and created a positive working environment which made it easy for all new members to integrate. I feel extremely thankful for having had the opportunity to intern (even if briefly) at the World YWCA during the month of April as it broadened my knowledge of gender inequalities around the world, especially with regard to young women in Asia, and it showed me the kind of environment I aspire to work within, in the future.

I want to thank everyone that made my brief internship at the Y a wonderful experience which I hope to repeat soon.

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