Laura, can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

My name is Laura Leiva Vargas. I am from Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. I studied communications at Universidad de Cartagena, and I graduated in June, 2020. During college, I had the opportunity to do a one year exchange at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, a Spanish university. There, I worked in radio, media and journalism. Right now I’m working with the department of communications in the environmental office of the city (Establecimiento público ambiental – EPA), and I am an intern for Friends of Colombia.

What is your connection to Peace Corps Colombia and FOC? 

My family had the opportunity to be a host family for a Peace Corps Volunteer between 2013-2014. And at that time my mom was working in a public school in Pasacaballos, where another PCV lived and worked. Through my family’s connection to the Peace Corps, we met many more volunteers working in and around Cartagena. To this day, we are still friends with many of them. After working in Pasacaballos, my mom started working in La Boquilla, where she met Mike, FOC’s current President.

So my mom introduced me to both Peace Corps Colombia and Friends of Colombia. She was the one who told me about the internship opportunity with FOC!

What has your role been with FOC so far? 

I’ve been working with the Communications Team. As part of this team, I have helped organize, create, and coordinate content for social media and the FOC website. I am trying to formalize a brand and strategic communications plan for FOC. I hope my work can expand the connection between the projects, people who have been benefited, and FOC members/PCVs/RPCVs.

Can you describe what working with FOC has been like for you so far?   

It’s amazing. It has helped me develop my teamwork skills and gain more experience in the field of communications. It’s a new experience for me also because I am using my skills in a different language, and it’s a challenge, but I am learning that I am capable and able to complete everything that is asked of me. I have really enjoyed working with the brilliant, creative and experienced Communications Team.

What is one of your goals during this internship? 

I hope my work helps FOC become more recognized in Colombia. I would like to help spread the word about FOC in my home country in a way that helps Colombians connect with FOC’s work and their efforts to contribute to Colombia.

Anything else FOC members should know about you?

I love to learn new things all the time so German is the next language that I am going to be learning. I love to bake, and I’m planning on creating a blog about Colombian cuisine and the history behind it. I also love to read and smile!