Young people are always told to pick one field and specialize it, but Bernice decided against it, instead opting to use her twenties to taste test and try as many things as possible, before settling and specializing. Meet Bernice Antoine, a youth advocate, and future businesswoman. Bernice joined us in August, after her CAPE exams, as part of our remote internship program focused on social media and marketing. Here is her story and experience working virtually with our team.
How is your internship experience going?
My internship experience has been fantastic thus far and has fueled my love of learning through our mentorship sessions. The environment is very supportive and family-oriented. My favourite experience has been an interview with our Chairman, Ms Angela Lee Loy. She taught me the importance of being authentic, which previously I struggled with – being professional without compromising my bubbly personality. She taught me I can have the best of both worlds.
What are you studying and why?
I have decided to take a gap year to focus on developing skills I was not previously exposed to. Currently, I’m using Coursera to study Futuristic Thinking, Web Development, and Digital Marketing. However, I believe in limitless learning so I love listening to podcasts, reading books, and watching youtube videos to improve my financial literacy. Moreover, in university, I plan to do a double major in Mathematical Economics and Marketing perhaps with a minor in international policy development and software programming. I’m very passionate about solving social issues around women’s rights and I believe by combining entrepreneurship and policy framework, a sustainable solution can be developed.
Share your projects, ideas, and what you want to achieve
Since my introduction to Caribbean Studies in form six, I have been dedicated to empowering Caribbean economies sustainably. In the future, I intend to have five interconnected businesses with franchises throughout the Caribbean. While each business might have individual goals, all will be aligned to empowering women, helping our regional economy, and assisting youths. Despite being quite excited about my future I strongly believe in starting where you are, with what you have. Currently, I serve as chairlady of the youth arm of IDEA (Integrated Digital Empowerment Alliance, an NPO that helps youths build businesses through providing mentorship, resources, and inviting business veterans to educate our members.
We enjoy chatting about communities a lot and we would be keen to know what you think you would like to do with regards to your community and interests.
I am extremely passionate about advocating for the rights of women and girls so I am involved in NGOs like Caribbean Women in Leadership and Girl Guides. My guide friends and I are currently working on a campaign for 16 days of activism that speaks to the dangers of telling girls “they should be seen and not heard’. Despite being passionate about woman empowerment, I have fun engaging in youth advocacy work, so I serve as member of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Ambassadors, Youth Advisory Group of the UNFPA, and Trinidad and Tobago Youth Advocacy Network. Because of my belief in being a lifetime learner, I presently am taking a USAID CFYR Online Advocacy Training Course to develop my campaigning skills and a ten-week course in social entrepreneurship offered by Living Water Community. Here we use entrepreneurship to solve social issues, and my project is targeted to Baby Boomers and Generation X.
What advice would you leave with future interns about doing a volunteer internship during the vacation period?
Ask lots of questions, take a lot of notes, be open to new opportunities, always be grateful and most importantly have fun! Internships are phenomenal experiences to learn from the best of the best and it should be treated as such. My advice is to shift your narrative, for example instead of thinking, “this is a lot of work” shift your mindset to, “I am so grateful that they trust me to perform this many tasks’. Also, I would advise future interns to make use of all the skills they learned, for instance, this internship improved my graphic design skills, which I now use to make content for my friend and I for ‘SupportGenZ’ social media campaign. In closing, I would love to emphasize not to expect a great day, create one!