Before launching into the world of commerce, Victoria University business graduate Alisa Dunshea decided to spend some time in India to "gain some life experience and make a real difference."
Ms Dunshea joined a 40K Globe Internship program, working in Ankanahalli, south of Bangalore. Her group researched solutions to the village’s unreliable and intermittent electricity supply.
"Life in the village was nothing I could have imagined going into it. The things I expected to find challenging, such as squat toilets, limited power, no flowing water and bucket showers, actually became normal quite quickly," she says.
Ms Dunshea and the rest of the 40K group were housed in the middle of the village and quickly came to appreciate its culture and challenges.
"We had a lot of fun immersing ourselves in the culture. However, it was also quite confronting being exposed to the poverty, health issues and the injustices these communities face. Hearing the stories throughout the month reminded us why we, and 40K, are working in these villages."
Days would begin with a project meeting and then the group’s tasks might include talking to the locals about ideas for the energy project, getting feedback, interviewing farmers and villagers, and taking a rickshaw into the nearby town to do research at an internet café.
"The main skill I felt I took away from this was an increased ability to overcome obstacles. We were faced with so many challenges such as not having constant access to internet and the differences in language and culture.
"In the beginning, these were huge problems for our team, but we learnt to work with these obstacles and embrace them," she says.
"Going on a 40K Globe internship is not a decision to be taken lightly. It will be a challenging experience, but it is one that you will never forget," says Ms Dunshea.
40K Globe runs one-month social internship programs in India in January, February, July and December. Participants live in villages and may work on projects ranging from community needs assessment and education, to water safety and micro business opportunities for local women.
Victoria Abroad has additional information on the program and on how to apply.
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