Finishing Up with Some Advice

It is now the end of my internship with Western Heads East. The final report and the presentation have been handed in. We’re preparing for our debriefing on Monday, and having our final meeting with Delphine on Saturday. So, upon my exit, I will give the future interns and interested students some tidbits and advice that I’ve accumulated over these last three months.

First up: Your WHE supervisors will tell you this over and over again, and rightly so: learn everything that you possibly can about your community partner, their country, and culture. Find reputable literature on these topics and read about them! WHE will provide information for you to go through, but see if you can’t find extra information on your own. Visit the community partner’s program website, if they have one. The more you know, the more you’re equipped to hit the ground running.

Second: within your area of expertise, AKA the field that you want to be hired onto WHE’s team for, find your weak spots. Identify your strengths as best you can and be honest with yourself about the things you need to learn more about or practice more. You end up using a wide and semi-unpredictable range of skills in this job. Knowing your weaker spots will help you figure out what you need to learn before jumping into the task, or it will help you tell your supervisors what you can and cannot do. Being honest about your skillset is going to be more helpful to your community partner than trying to do something you simply do not have the skillset to do. (Nobody’s going to be mad at you – I promise. They’ll benefit from your honesty!)

The third thing I can recommend is patience and persistence. Ask a million questions but understand that people may be busy or may simply not have the answer. Encourage the youth with whom you’ll be working (if you’re doing an internship with YOU or SAUT) but don’t be discouraged if they don’t return the enthusiasm right away. Allow your patience to turn your excitement into an enthusiasm that will be digestible and understandable for your community partner. Remote internships require persistent communication and it will sometimes most certainly fall short, and you can’t let this demotivate you. You’ve got three months to explore yourself and your identity as part of a group – don’t feel like you have to rush, but don’t let it stop you from asking all your questions.

The fourth thing: express your experience genuinely, but there is no reason to do so with anything other than professionalism. Everybody is learning here – even your supervisors. They want to know if something isn’t quite right! If you’ve had a curious or even less-than-pleasant experience, your supervisors will do everything they can to make the situation right. When I detailed my experience with gender in this environment, Bob and I met to have a very insightful and incredibly pleasant discussion on improvements! It was great! Building up resentment is the last thing you want to do, for the sake of your emotional health and your relationships.

And my last tidbit: take this opportunity to grow and explore yourself as much as possible. It’s going to feel extremely different from school: you’re working regular hours as the expert in your area for an organization. Your work is going to have real effects. You’re going to have regular responsibilities and yet have so much time in your evenings to just enjoy yourself and your hobbies. Take this opportunity to explore the difference between industry and academia, and really think about what you like to do. For work and in your free time! School can be so consuming that sometimes we lose track of who we are. I experienced the most growth and enjoyment this summer of any summer in my lifetime, probably. I really, really hope you do, too.

Those would be my big five. This experience is as much for you as it is for your community partner as it is for your Western supervisors. You’re all learning, growing, and working together. These are some tips that will hopefully increase your enjoyment of the internship, but I think you’ll do that anyway. It’s hard not to like.

(PS. Learn how to use Canva. It’s going to be your best friend. There were very few interns this year who didn’t have to make some kind of promotional or educational materials. Canva is a lifesaver. And, if you need to do things like logo design, I would highly recommend learning how to use Inkscape. It’s an open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator, but oh boy, there sure is a learning curve.)

And here is where I sign off. Please do reach out to me! I’d love to answer your questions, but I’m also just happy to chat about the experience. Coming from academia, it can be difficult to visualize what this internship will look like, so I’d be more than happy to help you paint that picture with my own experiences.

Best of luck to you, prospective and future interns! This experience will change you like no other.

Alex D. Smith

Education versus Industry?

It is the twelfth week of this internship. We officially have two weeks left to finish up our deliverables, the report, and the poster. And now that I’m also beginning the preparations for this school year, I find myself reflecting on my work ethic and what I enjoy.

(But first, a sneak peek at the smoothie cup sticker I designed for YOU:)

Smoothie cup sticker for YOUgurt smoothies. I’m just over the moon that all of our efforts this summer have accumulated into actual branding and promotional materials for this product!

I have always anticipated going into grad school. And I will! I will at least complete a master’s degree; the programs I’m looking into at the Toronto Met for communications are super exciting and are going to enhance my English degree so nicely. The question for me, now, is whether that continues into a PhD program for English afterwards. I’ve always wanted to; I’ve always enjoyed academia and I’d be the first D’Entremont AND the first Smith to have a doctorate.

But academia is a very different work lifestyle than normal work. My time in undergrad has been no joke: even when you’re passionate about your area of study, the late nights, the constant critical thinking that pushes at the boundaries of your brain, and the labour of – in my case as an English student – poring through texts and making precise and effective references can wear you right out. Especially when it’s a project that you’re less than thrilled about. At the graduate level, you’re hopefully working with topics that you enjoy most and want to pursue, but the workload will still be significantly heavier, and the outcomes of your work much more significant.

I admit that some portion of my desire to go into all levels of grad school was motivated by my lack of familiarity with work and industry outside of education. When you enjoy your academics and have seen little of what work is like outside, it feels like the safest option.

This internship, however, has given me a great glimpse into what the non-education industry is like. There’s still so much freedom – at least at this level – to plan your own projects and make your own original contributions to the world, but the days are not quite so long and the demand takes a different form. Sometimes you have to learn new skills or bases of knowledge to complete a job properly, but oftentimes in the workforce, there will be other people in similar positions to yours that may have this knowledge and can help out. The demands will often be in the form of meetings and quarterlies and team management, as opposed to intense research and drawing never-before-seen literary connections. The workforce is more about coming to the table as an expert in your area and being an equal to others, where at grad school, you are working harder every day to learn that you don’t know quite as much as you thought.

They are two distinct lifestyles. And I’ve found I like both.

I’ve become so much more open to working in the marketing industry now. Many of my career plans have shifted to include how much time I’ll spend in industry and what life milestones I want to achieve through that career path. A PhD is looking less and less likely, and while I’m not upset about this revelation, it is still an option, and I’m becoming more okay with the idea that it doesn’t need to happen immediately. I can get my Master’s, and if I really enjoyed grad school and I’m certain I want a PhD, I can determine whether I want to do it immediately, or if I want to spend some time making money in the industry and enjoying myself there before I move back into academia.

At the end of the day, I am open to wherever life takes me, and that’s what is important to me.

Western Heads East has opened a lot of doors for me, and I’m excited to see where they lead.

(One of which may be another position with YOU!!! I’m so excited!!)

A Future of Open Doors

It is the tenth (well, technically eleventh, because I’m writing this the Tuesday after) week of this internship, and I am going to be sad to see it go.

I write this in Quebec City – I’m usually posted down in London, hence is why this post is a couple days late. Long car trips make me so dizzy, there’s no way I could have written a single word before I had a chance to settle on unmoving ground! But this trip has me thinking about my future goals and aspirations, and all my short-term goals with my career and my internship, and so I suppose I’ll talk about that in this post.

But, first, a quick update on the things we’ve been working on:

  • The logo came in for YOU. It’s SO GOOD! I’ve processed it through a vector system (which is a fancy way of saying I drew it in an open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator), and so here is the final product:
The new logo for YOU’s Fiti Yogurt product line: YOUgurt. Designed by Josi Hunter, youth mentor at the YOU Made It Cafe.

         Isn’t it just the most comforting thing you’ve ever seen? I cannot imagine any better way this logo could have been made. Josi has it in the bag.

  • YOU is having a launch party for Joan’s Place, a new shelter across the street from the café designed for young mothers and expecting mothers. They want to hand out railcards and posters for this event so we’ve been charged with prepping all the marketing materials by August 5th.
  • The onboarding handbook for SAUT has seen its rough draft completed! Gurleen and Lisa will be meeting with Delphine to discuss it and any edits it needs, and then we’re onto putting together the final videos for the onboarding process.

So the list of key deliverables has shortened slightly, but man, it’s going to be some work. And I can feel a little bit of burnout setting in – something that routinely rolls into my system at about the three-month mark with anything new. A setback that can vary in intensity, but will always feel something like this:

Picture taken from Reddit. It is a favourite of mine.

(I am the hand. My brain is the dog.)

But! I’m putting in a lot of work to learn more about burnout and why my brain works like this, what it means, and how I can counter it. This vacation will hopefully be a really good influence on my brain and its productivity, and I’ll continue to compartmentalize my time to slot in breaks dedicated to anything but work.

Burnout is a real thing, and the last thing you should feel is guilt when you come across it. It happens. Your brain is trying to protect you. You’ve simply got to give yourself the rest you need.

But yes – Quebec.

I’ve been here for only two days, but I’m really enjoying myself. I’ve taken French all through high school and some courses in university, and just today I got to order food for my family in French. I really, really like it here. And, of course, when I like something, I make a point to see how I can fit it into my future plans.

This internship has made me realize that I would definitely like to see a lot of marketing in my future careers. It has been so much fun and so pleasing for my brain! Solving these puzzles and creating brands and materials from the ground up has been so cool, and so I’ve been thinking about ways to incorporate that into my future on my own terms. Maybe I’ll land a remote job with a London company and spend the summer in Quebec. Maybe I move here in my early thirties when I’ve landed a sweet new marketing job. Maybe I move after grad school and set up my own little business. All I know is that this internship has shown me what I like, and all the opportunities for travel and liberty available with remote work.

And there’s the moral side of things – if you’re not careful, marketing can be an insidious industry. The way they develop theory and practices is bizarre: they sometimes, at their worst, view everything from an angle that completely eliminates the concept of ethics. Getting people to buy your product or services does not take into account whether your methods are adding to their quality of life and access to information. Ethical movement has to be made deliberately in this field, and when you’re working for a large, commercial, for-profit company, I imagine you won’t have much wiggle room to insert your ethics into their giant predetermined plot.

That’s a lot of the reason why I chose Western Heads East. Working with non-profit organizations allows my marketing to take on the ethical approach I desire to have in my career. Marketing can be ridiculously effective even with these sorts of limitations on what you can do – that one step over the boundary is almost counterintuitive, decreasing quality of life in your pursuit to convince people that your product will increase quality of life. With this internship, I’ve been able to route my own marketing schemes and keep ethics front of mind, while working with companies who have the most genuine and community-oriented goals and morals.

Overall, this paints a distinct picture for my ideal future. I will probably end up working in traditional industry for at least a few years, but I know where I want to go and I know that there are options out there that won’t conflict with my core morals and intentions for my work. This internship has really helped me crystallize the image of who I want to be as I grow in this industry, and what impact I want to leave on the people who will interact with my projects. What jobs I’m going to take? No clue. Where I’m going to end up living? Beats me. And that’s fine. That should be open-ended. All I need is to know that I liked what I did during this internship, and I’m set to take on the world.

So, future interns: I hope this experience gives you everything you hoped for, and new knowledge you maybe didn’t expect. This internship is going to open up so many doors for you and I implore you to explore as many as possible!

The Reality of Being Queer with WHE

It is now the eighth week of the internship! By this point I’m fairly certain that marketing might be the industry for me. So long as I’m treated as nicely and with enough creative freedom as I am here. (Which I may have to work up to, but I bet that’ll make it feel even sweeter!)

Here’s a little breakdown of what I’ve been up to lately:

  • Still working away at the brand for YOU. We’ve officially met with the youth and taken their insights into account. One of the youth mentors, Josi, is actually designing the brand logo! So cool! I’m super excited to see what she comes up with. In the meantime, I’ve been fixing the colours to make them more accessible and coming up with some possible packaging designs.
  • Also, I’ve started to work on the Brand Guidelines. It’s been super fun putting this package together and determining how this brand should be best presented. We’re covering everything, including colours, logo display variation, fonts, voice, all the items necessary for a real brand. It’s still sinking in that I’m helping to create a real brand for a real product for a real company.
The current draft of the cover for the Branding Guide and a draft concept of what the logo packaging might look like! I took some photos of their strawberry Fiti smoothie (with some home-supplied strawberries for decoration), and drew on a sketch of the package. The logo is a placeholder until we get Josi’s design – that’s when we can really buckle down on what the whole thing will truly look like.
  • For SAUT, we’ve begun the process of creating the onboarding content. We figured out what categories we would need to go over and split them up accordingly – so I’ll be working on explaining the constitution, how to do the bookkeeping, and how to market for the program. What this also means, however, is that I need to draft the constitution and the system for bookkeeping, and fast! We agreed on a deadline for the written components to be due this Monday. It’ll be a busy weekend for me.
  • I also kept in touch with Peter a couple more times in the last couple weeks. The calls aren’t very long because he’s quite busy preparing for his exams at this point in time, but his advice is always helpful. He gave a bit more insight into how he thinks we should split up the roles for the kitchen, which I’ve taken into account as I create the constitution.
A snippet of the constitution so far. I’m basing a lot of it off of what I know about Western USC club constitutions. And yes, the next step after completing the first draft will be to simplify the language, because I’d be a liar if I said I understood what all the bureaucratic jargon meant first-time round.

So we’ve got a few things due in the next couple days, which is also coupled with needing to figure out my schedule for third year! I put it off for too long, so we get a busy busy weekend.

There has, however, been something pulling on my leg during this internship. I am fortunate to be in a position where it has not caused me any trouble and therefore has not demanded a lot of brain space, but it’s certainly been there: my LGBTQ+ identity.

I am technically nonbinary. I am technically male and female. I use she/her and he/him. I sign my emails with both sets of pronouns. I am also queer, a statement that will be appropriate as I launch into the issue at hand.

Tanzania is a hostile country for the LGBTQ+ community.

There are prison sentences for homosexuality.

I am grateful that there is no determinate law against nonbinary or transgender individuals, but it seems to be looked down upon, and such would not be surprising. When the SAUT students I work with first saw a photo of me, they struggled for a long time in trying to figure out whether I was a man or a woman and it tainted every interaction they had with me before I decided it was safest to present as solely female. This decision was made because most of my summer clothes are traditionally feminine, and if I presented as a feminine male, who knows what that might have implied.

Needless to say, I spent a bit too much time worrying over my presentation and shoving a huge part of myself into a bottle in order not to rock the boat.

My experiences with YOU have been much more accepting and pleasant, but still curious. My supervisor refers to me with ‘they/them’ pronouns. He’s not the first, either – I’ve had professors and peers do it as well. With full knowledge of my pronouns. It doesn’t bother me, they/them works fine and confirms my state of androgyny, but it’s certainly revealing. Revealing of the hesitation that underlies approaching an untraditional set of pronouns.

With YOU, the answer is more straightforward – ideally, you clearly state your preferences for being referred to, and work with people long enough for them to internalize that they shouldn’t be afraid to offend.

With SAUT? I have no idea what you do.

You’d have to rewrite a city’s concept of queerness. Can Western do that? Can we interject and impose our ideas on them like that? Do we attempt to make them understand while their country still imprisons homosexual folks? Do we wait until they themselves realize that it’s not such a bad thing and then support whatever non-profit arises out of that? When does that happen?

When will people like me feel safe working with, or especially in, Tanzania?

I’d love to go to Tanzania. Talking to Peter and learning about Mwanza and the university makes me want to experience it all for myself and do some work right there with them. But it’s more than likely that I’d experience a constant underlying fear of some kind – something that would tell me that I don’t belong there. That one slip of the tongue could get me into trouble.

I don’t know how you solve this one. I don’t know how Western solves this one. I hope that our LGBTQ+ experts and our international experts can come together and devise a plan or action strategy of some kind, even if it has to be far off in the future, long after I’ve left Western.

I am lucky to be in a position where I am accepted by those who know, and to have an identity malleable enough to conform to traditional standards for those who don’t. But there will be others after me who will be rip-roaring queer, and braver than me in expressing it.

I hope Western Heads East can make them feel safe and accepted. At least.

Midway: Some Happy Thoughts and Messages

It is now the sixth week of the internship. The brevity of this program is really beginning to sink in, and I do find myself wishing we had more time.

Here’s a picture of the cafe. Isn’t so cool? I love that it’s sprawled through one of London’s old buildings.

I love the work we’re doing. Deliverables, goals, expectations, they’re all changing and transforming into completely new and different things, but they’re so much fun. To any and all future or prospective interns reading this: I hope you love this job as much as I do. I really, really hope you find the work of putting your knowledge to professional use fulfilling, and that the social impact is equally fulfilling. No matter what internship you’re looking at, whether it’s with SAUT or Mikono Yetu or Aga Khan University or something else: you’ll be perfect for the position if you love what you’re doing. Putting your loved skills and knowledge to use in a dynamic work setting will help you change and develop even faster than in school, I believe.

And here’s SAUT’s campus, while we’re at it! Also incredibly pretty – makes me wish I could go explore it!

Here’s what we’ve been working on lately:

  • With YOU, we’re deep into brand development and product launch plans. Things are getting set back slightly, but overall, we’re lining up our brand design, packaging production, and coupon launch to match with one of London’s festivals so we can hand out discounts and get people to swing by! We’re looking at setting up a meeting with the youth mentors and some more youth from the culinary program to help them understand what Fiti is and how to build the brand. The youth are going to pick our colours, fonts, and everything related.
  • Then we’re going to start building an education plan / booklet for the youth mentors. That way, they can teach the new youth about Fiti every year.
  • With SAUT, I’ve been in regular communication with one of the students! His name is Peter and he’s very excited about the project, which is so relieving to see. We discuss the kitchen and he’s going to help us with student engagement.
  • Which, speaking of student engagement, has become our new main deliverable for SAUT. Delphine wants us to help build a sustainable engagement model that is set up with good bookkeeping, clear roles and responsibilities, and expectations. This way, motivating the students to sell 40L a day will be much easier and they can manage that either on their own or with the next batch of WHE interns.

It’s funny – for a couple weeks, it felt as though YOU and SAUT were headed in completely different directions. Diverging from the same goals and developing completely different deliverables at completely different rates. But now they’re converging again. We’re developing education, structure, brand and engagement for both groups. It’s almost uncanny that the puzzle of this internship has developed this way!

(I like puzzles. When I can frame problems as puzzles is when I am at my happiest.)

It makes me wonder what the marketing industry is like. How much do the deliverables change there? You still need reports, you still need data and predictions and plans and campaigns and more data, but how much do your goals end up shifting? Do they shift all that much when you’re working for a large, well-established company? Is it railroaded up there, the rails made of “here’s our recipe, copy-paste this” and the spikes holding it all together the “this is what works” mindset?

Because, honestly, I enjoy watching the deliverables change and shift and mould into new things. Again, I like puzzles. Part of the puzzle of making something work is figuring out what’s actually needed. And in this internship, we’re given the freedom to do just that. At this point in our academic and professional careers, the answer is not obvious. I can’t look at YOU’s data and go “oh, of course, you need a three-year Search Engine Optimization plan and a ten-year investment plan”. (That’s made up, by the way. I don’t think that’s how plans work.) I have to sit there with what little knowledge I have and constantly realize that I have less knowledge than I thought the day before. And I have to figure out the puzzle.

My biggest worry, I think, is that I’ll never get an experience as cool and thrilling as this in the working world. That I will be railroaded. That someone else will have the answers and my investigations will be moot.

I write this because I hope the future and prospective interns that read this can visualize what this experience will look like for them. Entering into this internship, I really had no idea what was ahead. Never having had experience in marketing before, I could not fathom what this was going to look like. This wasn’t a bad thing; perhaps it was even good. I could not set up expectations and therefore I could not allow myself to be frustrated when those expectations were assuredly warped. This experience was simply allowing myself to be curious about the unknown ahead, which I think is a valuable experience to hold for the rest of your life.

So yes. Future interns, know that the road will not be straightforward in this experience, and that this is the most valuable and enjoyable aspect of the entire thing. Your supervisors will warn you that, although setting goals is critical to your success, they will undoubtedly change and you should brace for it. But it’s the best thing! This is your chance to look into a problem and say “I think your root problem is actually this. You will find the most success and it will be sustainable if we address this factor first.” And the fun is that you very well may not be challenged or overruled. Nobody is there to say “that’s not the actual answer”. You have to trust your gut that this is the right answer. And you’ll come up with it together with your interns and supervisors, of course, but there’s no right choice. Ever. You make the choice and then see if it’s right. Or you make it right.

I’ll end my rambling there. I think I’ve made my point.

We’ve got a few goals lined up for the next few weeks: build YOU’s brand with the youth; establish responsibilities for SAUT’s onboarding program; and start measuring progress.

See you on the other side!

The Plans Begin to Change

It is the fourth week of my internship, and things are changing drastically already with SAUT. So I’ll start with that.

We were informed that plans and goals would change and adapt to our situation many times during orientation, and it is quite fascinating to see. While the goals of the community partners remain the same, our approach is constantly evolving.

Dr. Delphine Kessy at SAUT has one essential goal for the yoghurt kitchen: increase daily sales from 20L to 40L. This will give them enough profit to maintain kitchen supplies and to pay students to work in the kitchen. Right now, the kitchen relies on voluntary help.

(If you’d like to see the kitchen: Mikono Yetu posted this video on YouTube in 2019 talking about the benefits of the kitchen, and Western Heads East posted this video on their Facebook page in 2017 showing a snippet of what it’s like to work in the kitchen!)

My first plan was to dive right into marketing stuff. Gathering research on the audience, figuring out the most appealing parts of the kitchen to draw people in, researching other locations to sell the yogurt. The standard Global North procedures for procuring campaign information.

Now, after developing some familiarity with the SAUT student leaders and the program, these preliminary tasks have changed. While those points are still valuable and that information would benefit my efforts, I have come to realize that I should be helping the students learn this for themselves. While I could take all that information and summarize it in a campaign plan and give them instructions on how to carry it out, that doesn’t encourage sustainable practices on their side. Helping the students learn how to do this independently and long-term is the ultimate goal: one day the university will hand the enterprise over to them completely and it will have to be sustained by individuals who can identify root problems and understand how to handle them.

So, instead, our current efforts have changed to encouraging student engagement. If they can get excited about this program, then we can help them learn how to think about business sustainability and give them some examples to help them get started. The business and marketing plans should be guidelines that they can then depart from and develop further according to the needs they identified.

We did, however, have to go through some trial and error in order to figure out what the students and the program needed most from us. So, to any future interns who might be reading this: patience and reflexivity are going to be your most valuable tools. Making intercultural connections is a slow process full of learning and growing, especially when done online. (Slow is not bad – it simply means we are being deliberate and careful about compartmentalizing our Global North habits, behaviours, and instincts.) You’ll run into many obstacles when you first start out. This is great! This is the vital learning process. The knowledge that you have is coming into contact with the community partner’s culture and their own knowledge. Having the patience to engage your reflexive brain and think about why certain obstacles might be coming up is going to be the most insightful practice you can incorporate into shaping your internship goals.

 And as I typed this, I was looking through SAUT’s university website, and found some fantastic news that might now change my plans even more:

Screenshot from SAUT’s website, on the Programmes Page.

They have business AND marketing degrees!

One of our deliverables was to create Community Engaged Leaning projects with other faculties – this could be the perfect solution. If we could potentially invite some business and marketing students from SAUT to help launch this project, it could produce the type of sustainability that the kitchen will thrive most on. From there, Western’s interns can fill in whatever gaps we can identify, and hopefully get the situation into a place where sustainability looks plausible.

The roadmap to success in this internship is fluid, changing, and full of mysteries and new information. Don’t sweat it if you feel like your goals, at any point in the internship, feel like they aren’t working – chances are that something new will pop up and give your plans the boost they needed.

I look forward to seeing where this takes us!

Onboarding and First Tasks!

This marks the end of my second week working with Western Heads East, and I am in a whirlwind of excited and nervous emotions.

Over the course of these two weeks, here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • I’ve met with my supervisor from Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), Professor Delphine Kessy. On the call with her were the program assistant, Constantine, and ten out of the eleven SAUT students who would be working on this program with us.
  • I also met our Youth Opportunities Unlimited supervisor, Nick Martin, who is in charge of many of YOU’s food enterprises.
  • I attended my first Swahili lesson!
  • I reached out to my group of SAUT students to begin researching our target market for SAUT’s marketing and business plan.
  • And I have begun to research into YOU and its target market, compiling my findings into a digital marketing analysis report for future reference when I begin to construct the new marketing and business plans.

The aforementioned whirlwind of emotions comes from the continuing realization of how big this project is going to be, how little time we have to complete it, and how little guidance there is. None of these are bad things – on the contrary, they’re thrilling! I love the sensation of taking these projects into my own hands and being trusted to deliver high-quality content that will ideally help these organizations thrive for the next few years. It is my first step into the working world, and I couldn’t be more grateful that I get to start on my dream path: marketing.

There are two other factors that give my future internship tasks an interesting twist: I am trained as a digital marketer, and only that. While there is much overlap, I do not have training in business. Learning how to think in marketing terms also opens the door to being able to think in business terms, but as I pore through research and informational sites on how to analyze a company’s business structure and produce a business plan, I realize there’s still so much I don’t know. It feels as though there’s an entire angle, a whole perspective lost on me yet. And as the marketing intern, there’s considerable expectation to create the business plan alongside the marketing plan.

There is also the fact that it appears thus far that SAUT, and perhaps the community in Mwanza, Tanzania, rely on traditional marketing practices – posters, brochures, flyers – to sell their products. More research is necessary to determine whether this is still the case, but SAUT’s Fiti Yogurt marketing resources all seem to be posters and related materials. As a digital marketing intern, adapting what I know to traditional marketing practices will be a new experience and I think I will pull a lot of insight into the foundations of marketing from this!

While nervous, there’s this intense feeling of excitement and determination within me. I’ll be learning so many new skills to reach my goals for this internship. While it seems like a lot right now, I know that with some compartmentalizing and task-sorting, everything will fall into place.  In the meantime, my first steps will be to continue compiling my research on our target markets, to learn more about what it takes to build up a reliable business plan, and watch the next steps unfold as all this information comes together.

I couldn’t be more excited!