At CMMB, we value our interns and volunteers. They are critical members of our team. Many of our interns travel far from home to be with us and we are always grateful for their work. Today, we would like to highlight one of these amazing interns, Veronica Corbellini. 

Veronica traveled all the way from Milan, Italy to intern with us here in NYC last year. She’s now back in Milan. We recently had the chance to catch up with her to find out what she’s been up to – and wow, has she been busy!

Tell us about your experience at CMMB.

During my four month internship at CMMB, I worked both with the programs team and the strategy and innovation team. On the programs team, I worked as a researcher and consultant for the development and implementation of mental health projects in CMMB’s affiliated countries. In particular, I looked at the current situation of women dealing with postpartum depression. Additionally, I analyzed different projects and programs of this nature that are already being implemented around the world to seek out best practice.

On the strategy and innovation Team, I helped to update the CMMB website. I classified, reviewed and helped to articulate CMMB’s many projects, both past and present.

What have you been up to since leaving CMMB?

After my experience at CMMB, I left New York City and went back to my hometown in Como, Italy. The first days back were pretty intense. I had to finish my final essay for my master’s degree in developmental psychology and prepare a presentation that I delivered in February.

Veronica with her friends and family at graduation

Veronica with her friends and family at graduation.

Just one week after graduation, I left for a three-week trip around India. Last summer, I volunteered in India at the Aashraya Care Home, an orphanage located in Jaipur. Ever since I left the orphanage the first time I knew I wanted to go back as soon as I could.

It was heartwarming to see the children run towards me to say hello. Many of them remembered and recognized me. They started singing the songs that I had taught them the year before!

The Ashraay Care Home in Jaipur, India

The Ashraya Care Home in Jaipur, India

After Jaipur, I traveled and visited other cities, including Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Varanasi, and Mumbai. I wanted this trip to be more than site seeing. I wanted to have a meaningful experience. In Mumbai, I visited the Dharavi Slum (the biggest slum in Asia, and the third worldwide). It felt like I was in a city within a city.

(top left) Jaisalmer, (top right) Jodhpur. (bottom left) Sunrise in Varanas, (bottom right) Train in Mumbai

From top right to bottom left, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, sunrise in Varanas, on the train in Mumbai

The people there are hard workers and always had a smile on their face. Children were running on the little tiny streets. Whenever they saw someone foreign, they would run over and try to practice their English. Everyone living there worked so hard and yet faced so many obstacles – challenges associated with overpopulation and lack of water and sanitation.

Three weeks later, when I got back from India, I settled down again in Milan and found my own apartment right in the center of the city. In mid-April, I started my one-year practicum in the gynecology oncology ward at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

Here, I spend a lot of time visiting women who are going through chemotherapy. I provide them psychological support, and often just moments of relief. We talk about many different things to take their mind off of what they are going through.

I have also been working on a specific project, the Salute allo Specchio “Health in the Mirror.” This project was developed for female oncology patients, and aims to address the physical consequences of chemotherapy (hair loss, makeup, skin problems, nutrition).

I’m always impressed by the strength and the determination of these women. Many of them are suffering from such a devastating type of cancer and still, they fight. It is inspiring.

What are your plans for the future?

In one year, I will have completed my practicum and will become a psychologist according to the Italian law. After that, I would like to move back to the United States (preferably New York!) and start working in public health, specifically in maternal and child health.

I would also like to travel around the world as much as I can. I want to learn more about the cultures and traditions of different countries. I think it will be helpful for my future work. I’m open to all possibilities and any offers, but I feel confident that this is the direction I want my future to take.

What did your time at CMMB mean to you?

CMMB was an mind-opening experience. I met new people and challenged myself as I dealt with new and different situations. I developed new skills, and strengthened the ones that I already had. I spoke English all day, every day, and it helped me to improve my fluency and vocabulary.

But more than anything else, I had the opportunity to meet amazing and inspiring people from all over the world. I met all the staff at CMMB and learned about the different positions and roles in the organization. I met different volunteers from all over the world. I found friends that helped me throughout my entire time in New York. The people that I met represent a big part of my experience.

Veronica with some of her friends at the office!

Veronica with some of her friends at the office!

Overall, CMMB was a brief but intense and meaningful experience that gave me the opportunity to re-think my future career. It helped me discover the area of public health and my interest in maternal and child health in developing countries.

Do you have a favorite moment or memory from your time at CMMB? 

One of the most touching experiences for me was the country directors conference. I was able to see all these amazing people reunited in a single room. After learning about their stories and experiences, and speaking with them, I was able to reflect on what we, as individuals, can do for the world. I learned how we can change the lives of many people through simple actions.

I cannot leave out the memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. They are some of the best memories. These moments really made me feel like part of a family, despite being so far from my home, family, and friends.

CMMB staff at the annual Christmas party!

CMMB staff at the annual Christmas party!

Before I left, my colleagues and my best friends in the office surprised me by taking me out for lunch. It was such a surprise, I had no idea it was being organized.

Veronica and her colleagues out to lunch on her last day!

Veronica and her colleagues out to lunch on her last day!

Besides those important moments, there are many different little memories. From the funny talks during the day with Alex, and the stamping and sending of infinite piles of letters and postcards, to the updates over coffee with José, and my afternoon chats with Ashley. Every single moment will be with me always.

Interested in interning? Learn about our opportunities in NYC!