'This is just the beginning': UPEI grad begins work abroad

A UPEI grad is moving to Nicaragua in a few days to begin a year of work as a communications advisor with Cuso International.

Rhyanne Beatty leaves for Nicaragua in a few days

Rhyanne Beatty found a job with Cuso International and was paired with an NGO in Nicaragua. (Angela Walker/CBC)

A UPEI grad is moving to Nicaragua in a few days to begin a year of work as a communications advisor with Cuso International.

Rhyanne Beatty switched her majors to Spanish and international development after a year-long exchange in Mexico had her rethink what she wanted out of life.

"I had the incredible opportunity to live abroad for a year," she said. "I went on exchange and my path was completely changed after that."

Beatty recently completed a graduate certificate in communications and professional writing which has readied her for the experience.

"I'm armed with the skills that I need to go and pursue my work down there."

'A part of who I am'

Beatty returned after her exchange in Mexico and was only back in Canada for a few months before volunteering on a project in Chile being organized by UPEI, which further solidified her aspirations. 

"From there, I knew that Latin America was always going to be a part of who I am," she said.

Beatty will be going to Nicaragua as a volunteer, with Cuso giving her financial support for her pre-departure preparations, as well as her flights and accommodations.

Cuso International helps connect volunteers with local organizations around the world.

She just got back from five days of training in Ottawa, some of which has helped her get ready for the differences in culture in Nicaragua.

"Cultural adaptation was one of the components of our pre-departure session," she said. 

"The main takeaway is to be extremely open to experiencing new cultures, and respectful, and empathetic of people's differences. To manage your expectations in reality." 

"And in the end to come from a place of appreciation rather than judgement."

'This is just the beginning'

Beatty will be working with an organization that supports women in entrepreneurship which runs programs in youth leadership, environmental sustainability and positive masculinity. 

Her main job will be increasing the visibility of the organization by creating a website and using social media in an effort to access more funding and reach the people who need help the most.

"I'm really excited about that role," she said. "To share their story and bring their message to the people who it can impact."

Rhyanne Beatty says her previous travel experience will help the transition to a new culture. (Submitted by Rhyanne Beatty)

She hopes this will be the start of a career in international development that takes her around the world. 

"With this year specifically, I hope that I'm able to make an impact, I hope that that I can gain skills, especially since I have Canadian experience, but to learn about my field through an international lens, and specifically through a Latin American lens."

"I would love a long career abroad to continue in this work. This is just the beginning."   

With files from CBC Mainstreet