Working in Africa Pacific Students Intern in Uganda

For students Caroline Styc '19 and Cynthia Villalobos '19, the opportunity to work abroad this summer meant a chance for an unforgettable two-way learning exchange. They were able to apply the skills they have gained at Pacific in an international, vibrant city 9,300 miles away in Kampala, Uganda, working at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

“This has been a fulfilling, humbling experience. Every day I wake up more grateful than the previous day. There is no doubt in my mind when I return to home there will be lessons and experiences I have learned here that I will carry for the rest of my life."

- Cynthia Villalobos '19

"I have never seen land so fertile and abundant with affordable food that travels the streets in baskets on the top of women’s heads or in giant bags on the top of taxi cabs. And although many people live well below the poverty line, they would give you the shirts off their back and expect nothing in return."

- Caroline Styc '19


The internship is the product of a joint partnership with Pacific and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics facilitated by Pacific's director of the School of International Studies Bill Herrin and Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences professor Courtney Jensen. Since 2016, Pacific has sent students to work at UBOS to help with research both for the bureau and for projects the professors are working on in the United States.

The internship provides unique cultural workplace exposure, which according to Herrin, is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences that the students gain while abroad. It is a chance to think critically, take initiative and to fine-tune their ability to alter the lens through which students evaluate and adapt both to their own culture and cultures abroad.

“A challenge I have experienced while here is learning to adapt to the pace of the working environment at UBOS, as it is a lot slower than the usual working environment in the United States. Being a person accustomed to a busy lifestyle, I have had to practice patience more during this past month than my entire college experience combined. Though it is a working environment 10 times more relaxing than the one I experience at home, the ‘Ugandan pace’ has made me appreciate my busy yet structured lifestyle.”

- Cynthia Villalobos

Villalobos has spent her time in Uganda assisting in research projects on both anemia and HIV/AIDS data within Uganda.

She observed that living in a country where people value “life itself over possessions” has helped her to appreciate a lifestyle that is different from her own and to learn to connect with and embrace the kindness of people she would never have met without the internship.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I am returning to the United States as a better person. I have benefited from an experiential learning opportunity that has made me a better global thinker with a new perspective on life.”

- Caroline Styc


Created By
Kaylee Webster

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