Stepping out of your comfort zone

August 2, 2018 | Rebecca, Specialization - International Development and Globalization and Additional Minor - Economics,WUSC Malawi, Student Refugee Program, Intern

My internship experience in Malawi has taught me not only about who I am as a person, but has also opened my eyes to what I am truly capable of accomplishing. Going to a new environment without knowing a single person and being able to turn it into my home has taught me about the power of relationships. Doing a difficult job, being constantly busy and overwhelmed, but still enjoying every minute of it and making the work everyday count to a positive result has taught me about the power of hard work and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Going out into a foreign city and trying new things with people who are excited to share their customs with you has taught me the power of respecting other people’s culture, and seeing a world outside of your own.

When I applied for this internship 7 months ago, I was terrified. The thought of living in a foreign country, with foreign cultures, and people I did not know made me so nervous. It is so strange to think that now after 3 months here in Malawi I am surrounded by people I consider family and have built friendships that I will carry with me throughout my entire life. The friends I have made, stories I have heard, relationships I have built have all crafted me into a humbled, and aware human being. I see the world with new perspectives outside of my own. Malawi has taught me the power of human relationships, and the way they can make you feel at home no matter where you are in the world. Actually, most of Malawi’s economy runs on relationships, it is all about who you know. Your car is broken? You call your friend who fixes cars. You need a ride? You call your taxi friend who drives you each weekend. You are standing in line in the store? You talk to the person beside you like you’ve been friends your whole life. You arrive in the office in the morning, you greet EVERYONE. Malawi has taught me what taking the time to talk to people, know them, and genuinely care about what is going on your lives can do for you and also what it can do for others.

A friend I made here in Malawi told me, “maturity is seeing things in different perspectives” and I can’t think of a more true statement. This internship has showed me that experiencing new environments, learning how other people live, and truly looking at the world from a new perspective can mature you in a way nothing else can. Understanding that there is a world outside of your own, and there is more than one right way to do anything is essential to every aspect of your life. Malawi has showed me that things I always thought were right because they were normal to me, can be argued from a completely different perspective. Malawi has showed me that everyone in the world knows something that you don’t know, and you can learn from every single person you meet. Opening your mind to this concept will set you free to a endless education and a truly better understanding of what it means to be a global citizen.

The last life lesson I have learned in Malawi is that i am CAPABLE. I don’t know how many times I thought I wasn’t going to be able to pull something off, or finish the work I needed, or properly organize an event i was trying to do, but at the end of the day I did it. I accomplished things that if you asked me I could do six months ago I would have laughed. My internship in Malawi has taught that if you push yourself as hard and far as you can you really can accomplish anything. Stepping out of your comfort zone can truly show you your abilities and how capable you are as a person, no matter what you previously believed.

I am so grateful for the growth I have experienced throughout my internship in Malawi. I will value the knowledge, friendships and skills I have acquired here for the rest of my life.

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