By Stephen Weir
Jamaica’s Grace Kennedy Company is once again offering 2nd and 3rd generation Jamaicans who have never actually lived in Jamaica the opportunity to spend a month next summer in the homeland. Every year four Jamaican Canadian university students are brought back to the island to learn about their heritage through Grace Kennedy’s Jamaican Birthright Program (JPB).
“The GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme is a cultural and professional internship geared at highlighting all aspects of Jamaican life while furthering the career goals of the selected candidates,” explains Petronilla Marchan, a JPB assistant here in Canada. “It is a programme that will give students a well-rounded Jamaican experience!”
JPB provides round-trip transportation, accommodation, a stipend and an internship in Jamaica. The students will be on the island one month during the summer of 2020. Applications are already being accepted; the deadline to apply for this free four-week project is November 30th.
“The programme is a cultural and professional internship geared at highlighting all aspects of Jamaican life, while furthering the career goals of the students. Over the course of the trip, our visiting students will focus on cultural as well as professional education programmes.”
The students will work in a GraceKennedy subsidiary linked to their field of study, giving them hands-on experience in a wide range of industries. As for the cultural component of the month visit, the students will take part in a variety of weekend trips that show them Jamaica’s historic sites, natural and human resources, and of course, the beach! This internship will benefit the candidate in a variety of ways, including practical experience and mentorships.
The GraceKennedy Foundation funds the JPB with support from other companies operating on the island, including Grace Foods, Western Union, Caribbean Airlines, Jamaica Tourist Board, Chukka Caribbean Adventures, Go Jamaica Travel, Bill Express Jamaica and Dolphin Cove.
According to Marchan, students interested in applying must write an essay about how Jamaica’s rich culture has influenced them. Also, the students need to provide references, grade transcripts, photographs, proof of Jamaican heritage and copies of their passport and birth certificates.
The application is on online at www.gracekennedy.com/birthright.