Become an Intern
The Western Heads East Internship Program is a challenging, dynamic, competitive, multidisciplinary and international learning opportunity for students to grow and assist with health sustainability initiatives in Africa. Since the project began, over 100 student interns from a variety of academic backgrounds have participated in the program. Interns have the opportunity to:
- Practice sustainable business and social enterprise skills
- Collaborate on new kitchen and laboratory facilities
- Promote awareness to Western University's community about health sustainability in East Africa
- Receive a course credit
Hear about the impact
SAUT is seeking WHE student interns to collaborate with students at SAUT to grow the campus Fiti Probiotic Yogurt Kitchen. Interns will be engaging with the campus community to increase awareness of the kitchen, health benefits of the probiotic yogurt, and social enterprise. Interns will also work on the implementation of the business plan with the student leaders and support them in terms of development and planning for the future challenges, develop a marketing and promotions strategy to increase the sales and, research and propose on Community Engaged Learning projects with other faculties to extend the benefits of the program among other students inside SAUT campus.
Education for Better Living (EBLI) is a registered non-governmental organization in Mwanza, Tanzania, which works to contribute to the reduction of teenage pregnancies and the rate of school dropout. EBLI also contributes to economic empowerment for those who have dropped out of school to live a life free of coercion, discrimination and gender-based violence (GBV). Interns will be engaged on conducting a complete community consultation process for the application of a business plan and developing a marketing strategy and plans for general public education for local schools, and other public institutions and organizations to position KuniSmart in Tanzania’s competitive energy market. Interns will also work on develop research about biomass waste collection program with local municipality to create KuniSmart briquettes.
JKUAT is seeking WHE student interns to collaborate with colleagues and students at JKUAT to grow the Fiti Research and Health Centre. Interns will work with JKUAT to increase awareness of the Fiti Centre, the health benefits of probiotics, and to conduct an education/awareness campaign on general nutrition. Interns will work with the SOFNUS Student Association leadership to establish the JKUAT Fiti kitchen on campus, develop training and draft a business plan with set priorities for the coming year. Interns will also map out existing and prospective Fiti community kitchens and prepare evaluation reports and suggested improvements to the existing community kitchens.
Mikono Yetu Center for Creativity and Innovation is a women-led, non-profit organization which seeks to empower women in Tanzania. Since 2005, Western Heads East has provided Mikono Yetu with student interns annually. Interns will work with this organization in determine the viability of the kitchen tracking app and follow up and narrow down the proposed marketing plan to determinate the best strategies to implement in local context. Interns will also modify the start-up package to make it accessible for people with different educational levels, update the website and create a social media plan taking into account organization goals/mission.
University of Rwanda (UR) is establishing a Fiti Probiotic Research and Production Centre at the university which engages students and faculty in experiential learning and research related to Fiti probiotic social enterprises, while also acting as a training and education centre for community groups to become involved in the program. Interns will be helping the volunteer to establish the market to getting to the stage of selling yogurt and obtain certification with the Rwandan Standards Board (RSB). Interns will also create business resources and work with SOFNUS students to support with the community kitchen and to establish production of Fiti on campus and educational campaigns for UR campus.
The Aga Khan University (AKU) is committed to the development of human capacities through the discovery and dissemination of knowledge, and application through service. It seeks to prepare individuals for constructive and exemplary leadership roles, and shaping public and private policies, through strength in research and excellence in education, all dedicated to providing meaningful contributions to society. Interns will conduct a review of best practices, processes and policies of the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) Covid-19 preparedness and response; providing an analysis of practices that were transferrable from Canadian hospitals and those that were not.
Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) is a non-profit organization whose mission supports youth to build skills, confidence and independence to reach their potential. YOU has been a national leader in social enterprise since opening our first one in 1996. Now YOU operates four social enterprise businesses to offer on-the-job skills training to youth. YOU currently operates youth employment training social enterprises, one of which is the YOU Made it Café. Interns will work on developing yogurts with flavouring ingredients (YOU jams) and conduct large scale sensory test on all the different flavours of yogurt. Interns will also be working on the YOU business plan implementation and developing marketing strategies.
Before You Apply
Please note that all Western Heads East (WHE) internships require a minimum 90 day commitment.
Read the Western Heads East Intern Commitments for information about the Western Heads East Internships. Please be sure you have reviewed the online application process on Atlas at Western International. This would be the starting place to get all of the details for the application.
Western Heads East highly recommends working with your faculty to arrange course credit for this experience. Your faculty's academic counselling office should be able to assist with determining course credit. Before approaching academic counselling, you should be able to describe your internship project, and relate the project to your academic program. It is best to meet in person rather than sending an email. Note that course credit is not required, but recommended to add to the learning during your internship.
Intern applicants can apply for Global Opportunities Awards and other scholarships and funding.
Research the available projects and destinations and decide the universities and projects with which you are most interested in collaborating. Consider language requirements, living costs, and course availability in your field.
If you are unclear on the specific project, goals or research in which you wish to be engaged, arrange to meet with Maria Rodriguez, Western Heads East & International Internship Coordinator.
You can learn more about what the experience is like from past intern blogs. In addition, some past interns have made themselves available to answer questions you may have about the WHE internship experience.
2018 Intern, Mikono Yetu
2018 Intern, JKUAT
2018 Intern, University of Rwanda
2017 Intern, Mikono Yetu
1: What excites you the most about this international internship with our East African partners and the Western Heads East Program?
2: Describe the specific research or academic outcome (e.g. independent studies, case studies, thesis) that this internship will help you fulfill in your current program of studies at Western.
3: Outline how the outcomes of this research project or internship goals will benefit the local community.
4: Please list any extracurricular and volunteer activities that you have been involved in over the last two years.
5: What have you done to prepare yourself to live in a culture different than your own? How do you think you will cope with the differences?
6: It is very important that you do research on the host organization/institution you would like to collaborate with before submitting an application. Western International must see evidence that your internship program of choice is appropriate for your academic program. Please discuss your academic reasons for selecting the placement that you did (first choice only).
7: Living overseas and being away from family and friends can be stressful. Please tell us about a stressful experience in your past and how you dealt with it.
8: How did you hear about the Western Heads East Program?
Applications for Western Heads East internships are completed through Atlas, Western's International Experience portal. Search using the keyword filter and typing in "Western Heads East" to see all available positions. Please note: Students may submit only ONE application through the Atlas system for an international program for the upcoming year. Additional program options can be listed in the Program Selection session of the application. Please do not submit multiple applications. Online Application
It is recommended to obtain an academic advisor and arrange course credit for the internship experience. Some examples of common course credits interns receive are: experiential learning, directed reading, independent studies, guided research, etc. Important to note, if undergraduate students are interested in publishing about their work, early applications (November-December) are highly recommended to leave adequate time for ethics approval.
A $55 application fee will be charged to your student account (there will be a box for you to check within the online application).
A $165 Placement Fee - applies to all WHE internships due to the in-house coordination with East African partners on internship placements, objectives, preparation, support, and post-internship responsibilities. This fee is only applied after a student has accepted their internship placement offer.