I am currently doing my master’s degree in Middle East studies in Germany. So when thinking about where to go for an internship abroad, I simply started digging around and checking different homepages of all kinds of organizations. In the end I applied to a handful of them, mostly in Turkey and Israel. Even though I originally only wanted to leave Germany for three months, I got two offers and one directly followed the other. So here I am now, in Israel, for six months instead of three.
Kayan was the first of my two internships and luckily so, because apart from the office work it gave me enough time to acclimate and explore both the city of Haifa and Israel itself. But what were my tasks at Kayan? As most interns I mainly helped Khulud of the Public Outreach Department, with her work. This includes organizational tasks, keeping the social media accounts up to date and helping with fundraising. If that’s what you are interested in, you can quickly take up responsibility by doing research about and eventually writing proposals to grant-giving foundations and organizations.
Altogether I have really enjoyed staying with Kayan as everybody was very welcoming and eager to help me with whatever questions I had. Volunteering there gives you a wide range of possibilities for your work, depending on your interests and skills. As internships at Kayan are part-time jobs, it’s best to have an idea in mind or a project of your own that you can work on as well. Furthermore you should be able to work with a flexible schedule and not mind having to organize your tasks yourself. Depending on your knowledge of Arabic (written and spoken) you can accompany the staff members to the women’s group meetings to experience directly which topics they are dealing with. This is something very interesting as, at least for me, it is a “basic” level of feminism and not what you might think of when it comes to the sometimes more theoretical feminism in my usual (Western) environment. But even if you don’t speak Arabic you are always welcome to join all kinds of events Kayan organizes.
As mentioned before every intern has his or her own project along the way. My predecessor interviewed the staff members about their views on feminism, I conducted a survey in the women’s groups about their media usage. The next intern could interview these women about their personal stories and the projects in the respective villages, then publish them in the newsletter and on the homepage. That way the friends of Kayan can get a more accurate and lively impression of what Kayan does, plus it can help in reaching out to the media and writing grant proposals. Also something I couldn’t do during my own internship is to be more active on homepages like Feministing in order to share our experiences and learn from other organizations about new strategies. I am looking forward to hearing what Kayan is going for! All the best, Claudia