Guest Blog: My experience as an intern with the Rural Ontario Institute

Date: March 22, 2018

As an international PhD student at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development , University of Guelph, I am glad to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) in a two-term internship (January – April 2017 and September – December, 2017).  This experience has been very useful for me as it helped me to better understand the Ontario rural context. 

My previous experience as a government officer back in Mexico and my research interest in community forestry and its contribution to climate change mitigation with a focus in developing countries, has provided a good perspective of the rural sector in developing countries. During the time that I worked with ROI, I learned a lot about the issues that rural Ontario faces which allowed me to reflect about the similarities and differences with other rural regions in the world. 

While helping organizing various forums and developing resources, I learned about very interesting topics such as community transportation and community wealth transfer. I also met people from different sectors (non-for-profit, local government, academia) with great experience and passion about rural people and community vitality. 

Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to the ROI staff for welcoming me warmly and making me feel a part of their great team. Overall, it was an amazing experience that complemented my learning process and helped me build my networks. I highly recommend to other graduate students to take opportunities like this to keep growing as professionals and contribute to rural community development.  

Guest blog provided by Lissel Hernandez-Gongora, international PhD student, University of Guelph.