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Intern And Member Spotlight - Jessica And Elizabeth, MSVU And PIER (Part 1)

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.

We would like to feature our Member, Mount Saint Vincent University and Partners in Education Roatan (PIER), and their interns, Jesscia Patel and Elizabeth Lee.

Jessica Patel is a born-and-raised Torontonian; she has recently graduated with a degree in Biology and Education from York University. She is an intern with Mount Saint Vincent University and Partners in Education Roatan (PIER). In Honduras, she will be a Basic Literacy Educator with a focus on Science education.

Jessica loves talking about her new experiences, so we asked her:

What got you interested in international development work?

It started from my desire to go abroad which is something I had never done before. During my university experience, I was fortunate to be able to participate in an international internship program which allowed me to travel to Cambodia. There I worked on a rural education development project. This sparked my interest in learning more about educational practices in other countries and how development work is done on education globally.

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

I am most excited to meet and interact with all the kids and of course meet the PiER team! Also, I am looking forward to be able to share my science knowledge to help create a sustainable science program. Lastly, being able to travel to beautiful Honduras will be very exciting.

On a day off I would likely …

I love exploring new places on foot, swimming poolside and tantalizing my taste buds with new and interesting edibles while, learning as much as possible along the way.

What is your favourite quote?

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” Dr Suess

To follow all of Jessica’s wide-eyed adventures, check out

Elizabeth Lee is a Registered Dietitian from Victoria, BC. She completed her Bachelors in Dietetics and Nutrition and has worked as a clinic dietitian with the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Elizabeth is an intern with Mount Saint Vincent University and, overseas, will be interning with Partners in Education Roatan (PIER) , in Honduras. She will be researching pediatric nutrition and education programmes.

Elizabeth enlightened us with her thoughts:

What got you interested in international development work?

It is important to help communities in a way that can build capacity and create sustainability. Food insecurity is a big issue around the world and I wish to help others have access to safe and nutritious food in a way that maintains their dignity, promotes self-reliance, and creates social justice.

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

I am excited to learn about a new culture. Food plays such a huge role in culture and health.

On a day off I would likely …

Explore the city, play guitar, and do yoga on the beach.

Do you have any plans after returning to Canada?

I will continue working in clinical dietetics at the Victoria General Hospital on Vancouver Island. I am considering to pursue a Masters of Science degree or Masters of Public Health degree in the future. I am excited to explore another area of dietetics and diversify my work portfolio.

Very ambitious, Elizabeth.

You can follow Elizabeth’s progress at

Mount Saint Vincent University:

The Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) International program partners with several countries worldwide to provide students and staff opportunities to engage with sustainable development and capacity-building projects. They are committed to “involvement in international projects [in a way that] is ethically sound, gender inclusive and environmentally sustainable.” Their overseas partners are “educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, government departments and agencies, and various centres and institutes” in countries including Trinidad and Tobago, Kenya, Belize and Portugal. Every year, MSVU is working towards their goal of “Crossing cultures and borders for a better world.”

Stay tuned for the profiles of MSVU's two other interns, Rawane Nassif and Harpreet Ahuja, as well as our southern partner, Partners in Education Roatan (PIER).

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