Intern farewell: Q&A with Alexandra Theodorakidis

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Last week we said goodbye to Francine, and this week the time has come for another one of our amazing interns to leave us. (If as staff we had to name one downside to our internships – it’s that they end!)

For the past three months Alexandra Theodorakidis has been an invaluable part of the CJFE team. As our Communications and Publications Assistant, Ali’s strong writing and editing skills, combined with her enthusiasm to conquer any project we can come up with and learn any new tools we may throw her way, has made her an incredible addition to the team. From features on Venezuela and Brazil (coming Friday), to infographics and interactive images, she has been a huge contributor to the CJFE team right from the start.

We are sad to see Ali go, but are excited to see what she gets up to next and wish her all the best on her adventures.

To mark Ali’s last week in the office, we set her down with a bowl of ice cream and asked her to share some of her final thoughts about CJFE.

What made you want to work with CJFE?

I wanted to work at a place where I felt like I was having a positive impact on the world and helping others while also working on my writing and editing skills. So working at CJFE seemed like the perfect fit for me with my journalism major and my passion for human rights. And even though I feel like I am sometimes terrible at expressing myself, I do believe strongly in free expression and I think everyone should be able to have their voice heard.

What have you learned about free expression from your time here?

I’ve learned just how lucky I am to be able to practice journalism in a country like Canada, where I’m not under constant threat of censorship and I don’t feel like my life is endangered because of something I wrote. That being said, I’ve also learned that there are a lot of threats to free expression from within Canada, such as our failing access-to-information system and being spied on by the government through Wi-Fi connections at airports. I’m far more paranoid now than I was three months ago and I am convinced the government is watching me.

What is the project you worked on during your internship that you are the most proud of?

This is a really difficult question. I’m definitely proud of everything I’ve worked on at CJFE and I feel like my writing skills have improved drastically. But I think the project I’m most proud of is helping out on the #Free AJ Staff campaign, calling for the release of three journalists detained in Egypt. Even if I was just raising awareness for the case over social media or making an infographic, I felt like I was contributing to helping these three men get that much closer to freedom.

What are you going to miss the most?

Definitely my coworkers! I have never worked with such amazing, kind-hearted people at any job. From my very first day here I was never made to feel like I was just an intern. I truly feel like I am part of a family at CJFE and it is going to be a terrible thing to not see all of these smiling faces every week. I will also miss the free snacks in the kitchen and ice cream parties.

What are you up to next?

I’m absolutely going to start out by catching up on some much needed sleep and then proceed to Netflix. But once I’m caught up on all of my TV shows I plan on doing some freelance writing/editing while I continue my search for a job in the field of journalism. I’m also planning on doing some traveling this summer, possibly to South America. I’m very passionate about photography so I will also be spending a lot of time, either internationally or locally, hanging out with my camera and improving my photo-taking skills.

Anything else you want to add?

Thank you to everyone at CJFE and IFEX for all of your support and guidance. I am so inspired by all of you and the amazing work that you do. I sincerely hope we stay in touch in the future, which should be easy since I plan to camp out in the hallway in protest of the end of my internship. Working for CJFE has been a truly amazing and valuable experience and I am going to miss it very much.

Stay in touch with Alexandra on Twitter at @alexandratheo