The world waits for no one

December 14, 2015 | Melissa, Trinidad and Tobago, MAC, The Women’s Institute for Alternative Development, Disarmament Program Support Officer

I can’t remember where I first heard that quote but it’s something that I’ve kept in the back of my mind for many years. However; it wasn’t until I returned to Canada that I began to grasp the raw truth of this statement. Life happens around you, through you; so constant, fast, and unapologetic if you blink and miss your opportunity. Ottawa kept moving while I was away and Port of Spain will not stop because I am gone. What feels strange is that despite this, I have returned to a place that is very much the same yet entirely different. Or perhaps the only thing that has changed is myself.

Three months is an odd amount of time to live in another country. It’s just enough time to get comfortable and then you have to pick and up and leave your newly constructed life to dive headfirst into your old one. During the Reintegration Seminar this week I have been reflecting a great deal on what this experience has meant to me, but more importantly, how this experience has changed me as a person. I know it is incredibly cliché to say this but it doesn’t make it any less true.

My time in Port of Spain showed me the realities of development in the field and the extreme passion of those who do it well. I have learned that learning out side of the classroom is a fundamental component of preparing oneself for the job market and life. I have come to recognize the shortcomings of my program but to also appreciate its multi-disciplinary nature. Even though prior to this experience I had not taken any specific classes relating to the subject of my work, I did not feel unprepared because I had touched on many of these topics in other courses. The required “reflection” assignments and regular contact with my fellow interns made me realize the power of international cooperation and collaboration. Although my peers and I were scattered around the globe we were still able to share similar experiences and learn from the cultural, historical, social, and political contexts of each other’s host countries.

It is very difficult to even begin to “sum-up” the last three months of my life. I strongly feel that attempting to share specific details would be unacceptable because it would only reflect the smallest tile in the elaborate mosaic of my experience. It would be irresponsible to share these details because it would distract from the unique and intricate mural that must be viewed in its entirety to be fully and truly appreciated.

This internship has taught me more about myself, the world, my program of studies, my peers, and what I want from life, than any other personal/professional experience. I knew that when I was stepping onto the airplane in Trinidad I was saying goodbye to a very important part of myself that would always remain in Belmont. I felt extremely sad at first but this week I have realized that my learning has only just begun as I begin to rebuild within this newly created “void”. Armed with new knowledge and a fierce and fresh perspective I have a new opportunity to build myself stronger and more resilient than ever before in preparation for the next opportunity to leave a little piece of my heart somewhere special in the world.

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