Meet a FullSouler: Anna-Kay Smith

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Hey everyone, my name is Anna-Kay (my friends and family call me Anna) and I am super excited to be sharing my journey in Uganda with you all. I am currently in my third year of Health Studies at the University of Waterloo, but for the next few months I have the opportunity to work with FullSoul as the Monitoring and Evaluation Intern. My job entails working with FullSoul’s partner hospitals to understand the Maternal Health Project and conduct an evaluation to see what works well and if there are ways it can be implemented better.

A fun fact about me is that I absolutely love anything music related, whether it’s playing instruments (I can play trumpet and piano), listening to music or watching musical theatre performances (the next show I want to see is Hamilton)!

Can you tell us what you are looking forward to the most? 

Going into University I knew I wanted to travel abroad – either on an exchange term or a co-op abroad. When I heard about Christina and FullSoul I was enthused to find a position that allowed me to travel and combined that with my passion in Global Health. When I think about my time over the next couple of months, I don’t know if I can just pinpoint a single thing that I am looking forward to the most. This past semester I took my favourite class of university – ‘‘social determinants of health’, where I learned about social and economic conditions that influence the health of populations and individuals. I am grateful for the opportunity to take the knowledge that I have gained in school and further learn about the complexities of maternal and child health issues. I also cannot wait to immerse myself in the culture and build new relationships and connections with the locals.

How are feeling as you prepare for your trip? 

As I’m writing this there are three more days before I fly out to Uganda and it still doesn’t feel like it is actually going to happen. I have definitely experienced a rollercoaster of emotions these past couple of weeks. Although this experience is something that I have envisioned for myself for a while, there is still so much uncertainty and change that comes along with it that makes me anxious. Despite that, I know that the experience is going to be life-changing and am super excited to be in the country.

Did you get any interesting advice from previous interns or others to prep you for the trip? 

I love this question because I’ve gotten so much advice from friends and family that has physically and mentally prepared me for the trip. Something that I really appreciated was advice from the previous interns on how to communicate with the locals. They taught us some common Ugandan phrases and told us about different mannerisms used there that would help us communicate better. My role as the monitoring and evaluation intern is heavily focused on relationship building so going into Uganda with this knowledge makes me a lot more confident with my day to day interactions.

What are the top 3 things you are for sure packing?
  1. Camera – instead of writing in a physical journal I wanted to try making video journals, as well as create ‘day in my life’ videos that I can share with future interns
  2. Chocolate! – highly advised by a previous intern (thanks Olivia!)
  3. Books – I plan on reading (and sleeping!) a lot during the 17 hour flight!
How can we follow you on your journey?

You can follow my journey on the FullSoul Instagram page @fullsoulcanada and the FullSoul Canada Facebook page, as well as my personal Instagram page @annakay_1999.