Intern and Member Spotlight - Marina, DalAg and MATI-Ilonga

Since 2002, ACIC has offered 48 internships in 15 countries through the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). These internships provide youth (age 19-30) with international development experience, skills, and knowledge to help better prepare them for future employment, while advancing Canadian development objectives. ACIC is proud to profile our member organizations as well as the interns participating in this year’s IYIP internship program funded by CIDA.

Today we would like to feature our Member, the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University and Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute (MATI) Ilonga, and their intern, Marina Neytcheva.

Marina says that although she currently calls Guelph home, she has many ‘homes’. While she was born in Bulgaria, her family currently resides in Toronto. In the past, Marina has also lived in Kingston, ON and Halifax, NS. Marina has received a BSc (Hons.), majoring in biology, from Queens University, as well as a MSc, with a specialization in plant ecology, from Saint Mary’s. We spoke with Marina, and here is what she said about her internship!

What got you interested in international development work?

Having a background in science, and particularly in ecology, this internship is actually my first experience with international development work. That said, considering that I love learning foreign languages, am drawn to international travel because of the cultural learning experiences it offers, and in all my journeys I have felt most at home in small rural communities, I am starting to think that a career in agroecology in the context of international development may be my professional calling, so the current position is an ideal way for me to test this hypothesis.

What are you most excited about your international placement and why?

I’m excited about all the learning (cultural, professional, personal) and growth that will undoubtedly happen because I embrace learning opportunities that throw me out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons in the process.

On a day off I would likely …

… be getting lost in literature, spending quality time with friends and family (especially my nephew), going on outdoor adventures, watching nature documentaries (and movies), learning to play my ukulele, drinking tea, writing in my journal, cuddling or playing with my feline companion, practising yoga, riding my bicycle, listening to the Vinyl Café, volunteering, and/or enjoying live music/theatre/performing arts.

What are you working on with your host organization/institute here in Atlantic Canada? And overseas?

Since my work, as a Teaching Associate, in Tanzania would entail developing and delivering agriculture-related curriculum (courses and workshops), I am currently familiarizing myself with competency-based education and training in Tanzania, in addition to learning about agricultural practices and policies in the country. Overall, compiling and reviewing resources that will help me with the work to come are essential tasks at the moment.

If you had to describe the organization you are working with in one sentence, what would you say?

Two words (or actually six): incredible integrity and dedication to excellence

To follow Marina on her exciting adventure to Tanzania, check out her blog at: marinaneytcheva.wordpress.com

Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture

The Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture is involved with a variety of international programs within their international office. They firmly believe that “Today’s society is increasingly a global world. Communities from around the globe are interdependent, businesses operate on a world-wide basis and environmental and social issues affect all countries. That's why [they] are committed to providing an international dimension for students, staff and faculty.”

Their programs include: English language training for international students, inbound student exchanges, student advising and information on academic registration, employment in Canada, health services, and Canadian cultural norms. Dal Ag also offers joint academic programs with other institutions, including the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China; the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, India; Annamalai University, India; and Dronten University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. Dal Ag offers work and study abroad opportunities, as well as participates in a variety of international projects employing their experience in agriculture, the environment, entrepreneurship, aquaculture and engineering. The international projects enhance the capacities of universities, colleges, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the countries where we work.

To find out more about the he Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture, click here to visit their website.

In Tanzania, Maria will be working with the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute (MATI) Ilonga. MATI-Ilonga is a government-training institute under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. It is located about 10km North-East of Kilosa Town, Morogoro region. It was established is 1972, and currently offers a certificate in Agriculture and two diploma programs in Agriculture, Human Nutrition and Food Production. Graduates go on to work in both the public and private sectors. Short courses are offered to farmers, extension workers and other clients as well. There are approximately 43 staff (32m/11f) and 300 students per year who attend the Institute. 

Safe travels, Marina! We can’t wait to follow your blog and see what you’re up to!