Tayla-Lee: ISEP Service Learning Program in Barcelona (April 2021)

I was lucky enough to volunteer at the Ibo Foundation with Anahita. The Ibo Foundation is a beautiful non-profit organization that works to help those who live on the island of Ibo. The main values that the foundation focuses on are female empowerment, relief work, children education and nutrition.

My main tasks were to assist in monetary funds by seeking out donors, creating a social media plan and designing a new project proposal. I sought out donors by researching potential foundations that donate money to smaller NGO’s, then checking their values aligned with Ibo’s. I then made a document collected with all this information to make applying easier for Anahita. I created a social media plan showcasing the importance of building your brand through consistent images, promotion of logos and using unique designs through software called Canva. My final project is designing a new project to propose to the donors that I found. The project I chose was to create self-care packages for the women of Ibo. The idea behind this is to promote self-confidence and the opportunity for sustainable business ideas to have ongoing packages available. These packages look to include period-proof underwear, shampoo and conditioner bars, and essential oil perfumes. Each of these taught me something new about how non-profit organizations operate and allowed me to explore new opportunities to enhance my skills in those fields. I was also able to continue learning Spanish through my conversations with Anahita.

The key takeaways I had from this experience is an acknowledgement of how effective these foundations are and how much work goes into helping these areas. I also took away a newfound knowledge of Spanish culture especially the culture in Barcelona which I will always hold with me. I learnt a lot about issues they have to face in Ibo with terrorism and struggling with communication. Ibo is such a small island and suffers greatly so for me being able to learn and adapt to the situation there has been tough but also eye-opening. I learnt how important intercultural communication is in facilitating healthy and comfortable relationships between one another. I learnt personally how vital it is that I am learning a language and how this is going to benefit me widely in my chosen area of politics. I also learnt the importance of skills such as confidence and the value of a good work ethic. I found myself enjoying the work I was doing for the Ibo Foundation, and putting a lot of passion into it. The best part of this experience was meeting Anahita and getting to know her as well as the foundation she works for.

Doing any experience online is always going to be challenging and I wish I could have been in Barcelona however, in these times I am so grateful to have learnt the new online learning skills that I have. I would advise future students to do research about their foundation before starting and get in contact with the previous intern and this helped me so much. Researching about the Ibo Foundation helped with all of the tasks I had and allowed me to execute them to the standards of the Foundation.

University of Auckland – ISEP Study Abroad

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