The people who help you along the way

July 5, 2018 | Ranawk, Specialization - International Economics and Development and Additional Minor - Statistics, Uniterra, Népal, Central Dairy Cooperative AssociationLalitpur District Milk Producer Cooperative Union Ltd, Communication and Documentation Intern

After reflecting upon my last few weeks in Nepal, there is no simple way to sum up this opportunity. It has been a bit of a blur. I realized that although my experience has been personally challenging at times, I find myself grateful for a number of things.

Firstly, I am grateful for the opportunity to get practical experience pertaining to my coursework during my undergraduate degree. I love UOttawa for a lot of reasons but the number of opportunities available for international experience really isn’t something available everywhere. After spending a few weeks here, I feel lucky to be able to observe some of the concepts and theories learned in class in a real-world setting. Being immersed in a cooperative setting gives me a further appreciation for community-based initiatives and the power and accessibility they create. Talking about challenges in implementing development projects in a classroom on a slideshow is completely different from learning about them from colleagues who are also looking for their own ways to solve them. Cooperatives as a mechanism for development are something that I have been interested by since second year when I first explored their potential.

The second way I find myself grateful is that despite not knowing anyone in Nepal before I arrived, the small network I have here has been great in my times of feeling unsure or confused. This is my first international cooperation experience and I was apprehensive about the kinds of things I would be able to contribute. This is where CECI Nepal and their experience in facilitating local organizations and international volunteers has been really helpful in giving me options, preparing me, and giving continued support. Part of the reason I did this internship was to see if development work was for me and even if I find that is not the case, I know the people who helped me along the way will stick with me.

Finally, I find myself privileged to be able to experience another culture so fully. Travelling to travel and travelling to work are different feelings. I am able to pause, develop connections, and live a life. Working in an international setting isn’t always easy but being able to learn, question, and continue to open my mind and eyes is something I will never take for granted.

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