Third year BA History of Art student Adya Jalan completed a virtual internship in summer 2020 funded by Goldsmiths. The opportunity was a marketing internship at Penda Photo Tours and Penda Trust, a photography and non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, South Africa.
In her first blog post, Adya explains how she found her internship and what she has learnt so far.
In March, when lockdown in London was announced, I went back to India to stay with my family for a while. It was a difficult transition with lectures moving online and moving back home overnight where I found myself living amidst a strict lockdown under the Indian government’s rules. However, I was determined to make the most out of this time and do something constructive. I wanted to get some work experience. In normal circumstances, I would apply for summer internships or volunteering roles, but given the Covid-19 situation, my options were limited. It was then, I came across the Virtual Global Opportunities on the Goldsmiths Website.
I was really intrigued at the idea of virtually doing an internship abroad. It seemed like an unconventional but ideal option since there was strict lockdown. With website recommendations on Goldsmiths’ Go Abroad page, I started doing some research on the different types of Virtual opportunities available. I found a website called Roots Interns. It is a platform that provides tailor-made, meaningful internships with charities in Africa. Their belief that learning and doing good go hand in hand, inspired me to connect with them. After having an initial conversation with Roots, based on my requirements, they suggested that a Marketing internship with Penda Photo Tours, Cape Town would be ideal for me. I was really interested in this and after the grant application process, the Go Abroad team at Goldsmiths funded my placement at Penda.
Penda Photo Tours, based in Cape Town is a small organisation with combined passions for travel, photography and NGO work. They offer mind-blowing photography tours in various parts of Africa and generate positive change at the same time. They believe that photography can be used to create positive change in developing countries, both on a community and a conservation level. And, that’s why they created Penda Trust, an NGO which allows people to do good in the community whilst having a great photographic journey. As an art enthusiast and self-taught photographer, it was really intriguing to learn more about the possibilities of using one’s creativity to support the local community. I will be writing more about this in the next blog!
I joined Penda in July as a Marketing Intern. I was involved in various aspects of the organisation’s Marketing strategy, such as, social media, SEO focussed blog writing and managing Google Grants & AdWords. I also did some fundraising and marketing research which was really interesting. The most fun part was exploring how photography and visual imagery can be used for so many good causes. I have almost reached the end of my Internship and I cannot imagine how much I have learnt so far. I was really interested in exploring the field of marketing and this internship provided me with an opportunity to do that, whilst working towards a good cause.
This experience was definitely one of the very few positive things that happened during the pandemic. Considering that everything will be virtual for a while, I got a chance to explore what working remotely would be like. It was surprisingly very pleasant. I was able to work with a very welcoming and friendly team. The best part was that we all were based in different parts of the world. I instantly felt like we were a part of a community even though we were not working together physically. By interacting with my colleagues, I learnt about the different places they were based in and gained cultural awareness. There were of course several challenges that I had to face too, during the course of this virtual internship. The biggest difficulty was coping with the time difference. Working hours turned out to be really odd for me but my team made sure that the meetings were scheduled at a decent time. Overall, it has been such an enriching experience.
Read my second blog to learn more about the work I did at Penda and how Art can be used as a powerful tool to bring about social change!