By Kasandra Kachakji, Communications Intern, Generations for Peace
Hello! Marhaba! Hola! Bonjour! My name is Kasandra Kachakji and I am a Peace and Conflict Studies major at the University of California, Berkeley. I am a half-Syrian, half-Mexican, first-generation American born and raised in Northern California. I am an athlete, a student, a foodie, a yogi, a linguaphile, a reader, a lover of life and an aspiring capoeista. Right now, I am studying Arabic at Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Amman, Jordan. I have been here for about two months now, and it has been quite an enlightening ride.
This ride actually began about a year ago. I was starting my first year as a transfer student at UC Berkeley, and I decided to stop studying French and switch into Arabic. I have always been quick with languages: I grew up speaking Spanish, and taught myself to read and write it, But I realised I had reached a plateau with French, and while I loved the language, it did not align with my goals.
I dropped advanced French a few days into the semester, wriggled my way into Haitham Mohammed’s Beginning Arabic class, and started learning the language that has brought me here, to Generations For Peace! It is really beautiful, I think, the way the universe conspires in helping you achieve the things you want.
My background is in youth and youth development, so I jumped at the opportunity to intern at Generations For Peace (GFP). The programme I am studying with, Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), offers many options for internships and volunteering here in Jordan, but nothing they initially offered caught my interest. Josh (a fellow Californian, CIEE student, and intern here at GFP) and I pressed a bit further with Ahmad, the Volunteer/Internship Coordinator for CIEE. A week later, Ahmad came through with this awesome opportunity at GFP. I applied because I believe youth are the makers and changers of the world; I believe leadership comes through developing and empowering others; I believe in movement and getting sweaty, and GFP supports and promotes all of these things! I am incredibly proud to support an organisation that promotes positive peace through sport.
So now I am here as a communications intern, working on social media and other related projects. Shameless plug: Check out our Instagram! That is where you will find me. My goal is to make Instagram your window into our GFP HQ world, and I plan to help GFP expand its social media presence through Instagram and Facebook. In the next few months, I want to learn more about GFP’s culture, youth development, how social media can boost an NGO’s efforts.
I am really big on writing my goals down, so I will give you a bit of a preview of my big goals for the next year:
I come back to Amman, Jordan in May 2015 to continue studying Arabic through the Critical Language Scholarship Programme.
I practice yoga and capoeira every day, and complete a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course at Yoga Tree in Berkeley starting in September 2015.
I serve in the Peace Corps in the Middle East, East Africa, or Central America starting in February 2016 and I work in youth development while incorporating yoga and capoeira.
Keep an eye out for more blog posts and a special video too!