Classes are over and assignments are handed in, which means it’s time to start preparing for our placements!
Although MDPers are heading out to 5 continents, general preparation is required for most placements. Things such as vaccines and visas are essential for those travelling to many locations and many of this years candidates will be living in areas where anti-malarials are essential. Packing three to four months of your life into one suitcase and heading off to a new country are never easy things to do but knowing that 16 of your colleagues are going through the same process can help ease your mind.
For myself, I am preparing to go to Cameroon at the beginning of May and there is still much to be done. Placement prep begins at the start of the Winter Term when we are all trying to find internships and volunteer postions. Although my final decision to go to Cameroon is quite far off from my original idea of going to Singapore or South East Asia in general, I am very excited about the possibilities this opportunity offers. When choosing a placement its important to consider what’s important to you: is it location, position, organization, three months, four months, language, urban, or rural, etc? My decision to go to Cameroon was twofold: the opportunity to work in French and the fact that the placement is with a local government, not an NGO. My three months in Akom II, Cameroon will strengthen my second language and give me a development vocabulary in French that I am currently lacking.
As of now I have my visa, vaccinations, flight, and the majority of my packing completed in preparation for my trip. I will be attending a five day training session in Ottawa for pre-departure training with the volunteer organization CUSO International that is facilitating my placement. Once my training is completed all that will be left to do is celebrate my birthday at home with family and friends!
Kaylia Little is a Cohort 4 MDP Student. She works as the Student Engagement Coordinator for the Master of Development Program. Her research interests include community development, human rights, decolonization, gender equality, indigenous land rights, and sustainable agriculture.