Born in Quito, Ecuador, Rafaella grew up passionate about the world. At 18, she moved to Vancouver to pursue a degree in Anthropology and International Relations at UBC. Yet, a year later, she found herself worrying that she lacked the practical skills needed to succeed in her field.
“I decided to participate in the Semester in Development to get hands-on experience on the type of work I hoped to do in the future, ” she says. “I knew I wanted to work for a youth education or human rights NGO.”
Upon hearing Rafa’s excitement for human rights, our staff searched through all the internships being offered that semester by the NGOs and social enterprises we’re partnered with to find the best fit. Then, we sent her the top internships that we thought could fully nurture her passions and interests.
A few months later, she flew off to her “perfect fit” – an internship with the Foundation of Human Rights in Kampala, Uganda. This would prove to be a life-changing internship bustling with new experiences and unexpected opportunities.
“I worked in the advocacy and lobbying department; we were in charge of putting together the annual report on Human Rights. For this I conducted interviews with government and NGO officials and gathered information on relevant topics for the report. I also worked on the routine monitoring of police stations and jails to assess their protocols on basic rights for prisoners, and how were they complying with these rights such as access to a lawyer, food, etc.” It was an opportunity she had never known was possible to have at such a young age.
It’s now been years since Rafaella finished her internship, but it remains the foundation for her professional skills and continues to shape her identity.
“The knowledge I acquired from working with an amazing team of local changemakers taught me more than any course I ever took at UBC”
Over the years, she has continued to cultivate the interests she found at her internship. This has led her to numerous leadership positions within UBC, diverse organizations and, more recently, to her current position as Insight’s Marketing Administrative Coordinator. Her dream job, determined while interning abroad, is to work in the field of “peace and conflict studies in the hopes to work for a human rights NGO in the near future.”