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Keeping up with Altmans: Rebecca Rawson Interns in Uganda

July 08, 2021 3:30 PM

Rebecca Rawson at Independence Monument in Old Town Kampala
Rebecca at Independence Monument in Old Town Kampala

Rebecca Rawson of the 2023 cohort is spending her summer in Kampala, Uganda. She landed an internship with The Global Livingston Institute (GLI), an organization that promotes community development best practices in equitable, sustainable, and culturally-responsive ways. 

This isn’t Rebecca’s first time working with GLI. Last summer, she interned for GLI's founder and CEO. “I appreciated that GLI's motto of ‘Listen. Think. Act.’ exemplified what I believe to be the foundation of equitable and sustainable community development work; I wanted to be part of that.” As the Academic Programs Coordinator, she manages the logistics and general oversight of GLI’s virtual academic programs. “I also help to standardize and optimize all of GLI’s systems around recruitment, marketing, and general management of their virtual academic programs,” Rebecca says. “I focus on content creation of our academic programs, and work with GLI’s staff and external partners to better capture stories and content that can be added to virtual courses and fellowships, and/or be used as preparation tools for in-person trips and internships. Finally, I work alongside the Director of Academic Partnerships to build a strategic plan on how to grow the reach and quality of GLI’s virtual and in-person academic programs, and develop creative ways to adapt its existing curricula.”

A view of Kampala adjacent to Lake Victoria
A view of Kampala and Lake Victoria

Rebecca reflected upon her experience so far, which has been tough yet rewarding. “Three weeks into my being in Uganda, the country entered a full lockdown due to a rise in COVID cases. While, for public health reasons, I believe this was the right call, it has meant that I've needed to adjust very quickly to being isolated at a time where I am already outside of my comfort zone. That being said, I have learned more about myself and what I want and value in these past five weeks than I ever have before. Professionally, I have learned how to better communicate in team settings, and I have strengthened my facilitator abilities as I helped run virtual academic programming with large amounts of students.

“When the country first went into lockdown, and I realized that this experience was going to look slightly different than I had imagined, I was embarrassed to tell people from home. I did not want to say that my time in Uganda was anything other than ‘amazing’ or ‘perfect.’ However, the more honest I was with myself and the people I am close with, the more readily I was able to make adjustments to my life here that made this experience more valuable and much less stressful. These past few weeks have been a bit different than I anticipated in many ways and has been challenging, but I am still excited to continue to work and learn for the rest of the summer and see what's ahead!”

Though things haven’t gone exactly how she expected, Rebecca has shown exceptional resilience, adaptability, and honesty. Internships are all about learning and growing while creating mutually beneficial relationships. Rebecca has done just this, and we look forward to hearing more from Rebecca at the end of her summer experience.

Rebecca is a recipient of the Altman Program Summer Internship Award, which financially supports Altman scholars who are offered unpaid summer internships.

Inside the Uganda National Mosque
A view of Old Town Kampala from inside the Uganda National Mosque

Inside the Uganda National Mosque
Inside the Uganda National Mosque