Two undergraduate students, 20-year-old Kayla Jessup, and 19-year-old Tarik Graham, will travel to the Caribbean island, Jamaica, this summer to participate in a five-week professional and cultural internship program, hosted by GraceKennedy Limited from June 28 to August 7.
Known as the GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Program, it is designed to fully immerse second and third generation Jamaican students in the island’s rich culture while providing hands-on job training.
Kayla, who is from New York, will be going into her senior year this Fall at the University of Chicago, where she studies Spanish and political science. She said she is definitely looking forward to her internship.
“Since being selected, I feel very excited and grateful. I am looking forward to setting foot in Jamaica, as I have not been there in about 12 years,” said Kayla.
Tarik, who grew up in Florida, is doing a double major in Social Studies and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is also eagerly anticipating the trip to Jamaica. “I am really excited to be living in Jamaica for five weeks to garner experiences that I missed out on because I didn’t grow up on the island,” said Tarik.
While in Jamaica, Kayla and Tarik will joined by two other interns, Sapphira Thompson-Bled of the University of Ottawa, Canada and Callum McCarthy of University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Caroline Mahfood, Executive Director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, who is coordinating the Program on behalf of GKL, noted “The Program aims to encourage the interns to think differently about themselves, their heritage and their contribution to Jamaica. They will return to their respective countries of residence with increased pride in their Jamaican heritage and serve as ambassadors for Jamaica.”
The GraceKennedy Group is partnering with several public and private sector entities to give the Interns an authentic Jamaican experience. These include Caribbean Airlines, Jamaica Tourist Board, Go Jamaica Travel, Island Car Rentals, Dolphin Cove, FLOW Jamaica, Wendy’s, Domino’s, Island Grill, Tastee Jamaica and Bob Marley Foundation.
“We are elated that corporate entities realise how essential the Birthright Program is and have signaled their interest in helping to connect the younger Jamaican generation to their heritage. Thanks to Caribbean Airlines, the Birthright Interns will start their cultural immersion from the minute they board their flight to Jamaica,” added Mrs. Mahfood.