African Studies is an interesting discipline because of how self-reflective it is. I spent much of my degree re-evaluating my passions and my motives for creating change on a continent I had never been to at the beginning of my degree. Through my engaging professors and my experiences in South Africa and Malawi, I started to understand what kind of change I wanted to make in the world and how I planned to do this. Introspection and critical thinking, two key skills I gained from African Studies, led me down my current path of working for more local changes in Ottawa.
For the past two months, I have been employed at a local non-profit, Just Food, which strives to create a food system that works for everyone. I have done volunteer management, fundraising campaigns, and marketing during my time there, and I still get excited to meet people who participate in the 50 community gardens we support across the city, or running into local farmers I know through Savour Ottawa (one of Just Food’s many projects).
The inter-disciplinary approach of African Studies prepared me well for the varied responsibilities I’ve handled at Just Food and I like knowing that the changes I support in my community have impacts on health and food security in other communities across the world as well. I hope that my experience on a local scale will help prepare me for more effective global work in the future.