Annie is missing some poutine from her routine

Annie is missing some poutine from her routine

This week’s volunteer focus hands the reins over to Annie Chamberlain from Ontario, Canada.

Last May I graduated with a bachelor of commerce from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. I was eager to gain experience in my field, but knew travelling and experiencing a different culture was always in the back of my mind.

Deciding to travel abroad was exciting and something I always knew I wanted to, but it didn’t come without its hesitations. There were a million unknowns as I began the process of mapping out my three-month journey, however I slowly but surely adopted a new attitude – a new attitude that told me to stop worrying about what could go wrong. I then started to get excited about what could go right.

My trip didn’t begin in Ireland, but that was my ultimate destination. I spent the first month travelling Europe – spending three or so days in a city, then venturing off to the next. It was an amazing month, with so many sights to take in. As amazing as that month was, it was an exhausting one. Coming to Dublin felt a bit like coming home. The idea of unpacking my suitcase and staying in one country for a while excited me. Visiting Ireland has been a lifelong dream of mine and having two months to explore this beautiful country at my own pace was a dream come true.

Apart from the daily confusion of chips and fries, and crisps and chips, I settled in quite quickly to my temporary home in Dublin. I was eager to continue my travelling, but was also excited to start working at Camara Education. My internship at Camara allows me to enjoy the benefits of international work experience, as well as travel. I am able to experience living and working in Dublin during the week, and still have the opportunity to travel and experience more of Ireland on the weekends.

Working at Camara combines many of my interests. I am eager to develop my business skills, but I also have a keen interest in education and the non-profit sector. How amazing is it to gain experience in your field, all while working in a different culture and working towards such an amazing social initiative? I can’t think of better motivation than to know the work you’re doing contributes to such a great cause.

Although my time at Camara is only halfway completed, I already feel like I have learned a great deal and felt a part of the Camara family right away. The Camara team was great at getting me involved in projects that combined my current skills and experience with what I wanted to learn and take away from my internship.

Canada is calling

Canada is calling

I came here thinking I would enjoy travelling and get some great international experience to add to my CV. I may go back to Canada calling my sweater a ‘jumper’, hurrying to the store to fill up my car with ‘petrol’, or saying ‘that’s grand’ – and why not, when it sounds so ‘lovely’? But I am coming home with so much more – an amazing group of friends from different corners of the globe, an appreciation for the many amazing cultures around the world, and an eagerness to seek out the many different types of opportunities life has to offer.

Yes, there are pieces of home I miss. Plain potato chips, alfredo pasta sauce, and my family and friends taking the top of the list. However, most great things come with give and take. The experience I’ve gained and the amount I’ve learned about myself is well worth the poutine withdrawal’, and an experience I would recommend to all. It has definitely been great ‘craic’.


Annie volunteers at Camara’s Dublin office where her role covers graphic design, business development, marketing and communications.