Interning with ETIV’s new IT program

By Amelia Opsahl

ETIV launched our Information Technology (IT) program in June of 2023, and I was lucky enough to participate as our first IT intern. The new program, which will run for three months, instructs students on coding, user interface design, the importance of digital accessibility, and a variety of other areas within IT. We run six 90 minute classes per week for all age groups, and at times classes have over 10 students in attendance. The importance of these classes is clear as IT is ever increasing in relevance in our world today. IT proficiency increases career prospects, and is also seen in our day-to-day lives. However, the curriculum is especially valuable for the population in Itacaré. Many students do not have computers at home, and local public schools do not have the economic resources to incorporate computer work into their classes. Thus, the opportunity at ETIV for students to not only learn how to use a computer, but also understand the intricacies of programming and design, is a special one in which I was excited to take part. 

Me with several student regulars in our IT class

My principal role as an intern was assisting in IT classes. I was prepared for this work thanks to my specialization in Data Science at my college in the U.S. I applied these skills to help the teacher present lectures on new topics and aid students in our daily, hands-on activities. For example, I oversaw tutorials on how to build applications, on how to program and complete challenges using block code, and on how to design the interface of websites and social media pages. I was also given the freedom to create several class plans and lead sessions when the teacher was not available. In addition to this work within our IT classes, I also worked on several miscellaneous IT-related initiatives for ETIV; I completed website updates, designed posters on Canva, and helped other interns use our computers, and aided in ETIV’s new Digital Marketing class on the weekends. 

Me and fellow ETIV workers with several local merchants who came to ETIV’s new “Oficina Conecta” program, a series of classes in which we provided instruction on how to use of social media, Google Maps, and Canva to expand digital marketing efforts.

Working as an IT intern for seven weeks was an enriching experience. Firstly, I loved interacting with the kids. They were all passionate about learning and patient with my imperfect Portuguese, which allowed me to truly work one-on-one with them and make meaningful progress with their understanding of the subject. After class, we often spend up to an hour speaking together about our lives. These conversations were some of my favorite moments of the day as I learned more about Bahian culture, my students’ perspectives, and how much their childhoods differed from my own. Beyond the rewarding personal connection of my work, I also improved in my own hard skills through my time at ETIV. My Portuguese advanced tremendously, and I became far more familiar with WordPress, Canva, the Google Suite, and Linux, the operating system used in ETIV’s computers.

Students and I working together on an activity in our IT class

ETIV is putting a new focus on STEM activities in light of their growing relevance in current society. In addition to our new IT program, we will also be launching a robotics class, which I helped to design, and a chess team in the coming months. If you enjoy working in the digital space and would like to share this valuable knowledge with our youth population in Itacaré, I encourage you to reach out to about volunteer and intern opportunities!