Adjusting back to Canadian Life

September 10, 2014 | Katherine Jean, ECH, Uniterra, NEPAL, LPMPCU, Latipur

Hello FSS,

I returned from Nepal on a grueling 30 hour flight to arrive in Toronto. I was quickly whisked off to a family wedding, diving straight back into my old life. Now I have officially been back in Canada for the past three weeks and it has proven to be quite the adjustment.

I love being home but I am constantly reminded of Nepal in so many ways. Each time I sit down for a meal I am looking for the rice, a staple of the Nepalese diet. I also earn for some spice, which burns all the way down to your toes. As hard as I tried to learn to cook Nepali dishes it is something I never quite mastered; and all my attempts pale in comparison to my memories of little restaurant on the second floor across from the tuk tuk stop in Baluwatar, Kathmandu.

I am staying with my parents in my small home town before returning to Ottawa in September. For me this sleepy town is too quiet to get a good night’s sleep after mastering falling asleep with tons of noise. There are no dogs barking, trucks driving by and even no cattle mooing as your try and settle in for the night. Instead all is calm with a consistent buzz of the cicadas in the trees.

On the other hand I am able to draw parallels between rural life in Nepal and rural life in Canada. This past weekend was the annual Bean Festival celebrating the harvest of the white bean in the town just down from mine. All the surrounding community towns come together for two days of fun, with a bean and pork chop lunch, antique car show and a huge dance to cap the whole weekend off. In Nepal we attended the ‘Ropain Festival’, which marked the beginning of the rice planting season. There was a big feast after a long day of planting, and while planting people played in the mud and the local women sang songs to pass the time. I think there is something very unique about how rural communities use the planting and harvest season to come together and celebrate. It something I have learned is not unique to my hometown but is universal. On that note, I would love to thank the Lalitpur Dairy Milk Producer’s Cooperative Union for welcoming me into the dairy community in Nepal and for giving me the opportunity to explore and learn about the community as well.

I am glad to be home but Nepal was an amazing adventure.



An Update from Lalitpur, Nepal

September 10, 2014 | Katherine Jean, ECH, Uniterra, NEPAL, LPMPCU, Latipur

Hello FSS,

My time here in Nepal is quickly wrapping up with just one month left in my internship. My time with the Lalitpur Dairy Milk Producer’s Cooperative Union as their communications intern has been an emotional rollercoaster, but I have loved every minute so far.

I am living in the Village District Committee of Chapagaun about an hour from Kathmandu. I have my own apartment in a family home, and the family’s son often comes to check on me to make sure everything is okay. My Nepali is so-so but the people of Chapagaun are patient with me, allowing me to practise. Chapagaun is a quieter more laid back approach to life in Kathmandu, far away from the hustle and bustle of city life and a thriving tourist industry.

The past two months of been a whirlwind of activity at work. For my mandate I am to film, edit and complete a documentary by the end of July. The entire month of June has been devoted to field visits, documenting the stories of the dairy producers in the Lalitpur region. It has been a heart-warming experience because all of my field visits allowed me to interact with the local community, see the ‘real’ Nepal, far away from the tourist path. After long days I was welcomed into the homes of the Cooperative members for dinner, and a nice place to spend the night. Of my many experiences I have had in Nepal so far, staying with the families has been one of my favourites.

For the month of July my attention has shifted from filming to editing. This is proving slightly more difficult because it means more desk time then last month and finding translators from Nepali to English. I also am looking forward to seeing more of this beautiful country before the monsoon season really sets in.

Until next time,


A day in the life


I think “A day in the life” posts are so clichéd. Sometimes it seems people try too hard to find the interesting bits in an otherwise totally mundane day. Other times it seems people let one extraordinary characteristic justify their prolonged marvelling over ordinary details. Sometimes, “a day in the life” posts seem to serve absolutely no other purpose than to highlight how exotic/foreign/alien someone else’s life is, drawing lines in the sand and calling attention to difference where in fact the similarities are just as striking. “A day in the life” posts can contribute to existing biases, can distract from more important issues, and, most importantly, can be downright boring.

And yet, as I planned out what to write for my blog postings that would best convey my time in Ghana, “a day in the life” was one of the first things that came to mind. So I wrote one (call me a hypocrite!). I’m sure it falls victim to all of the ills I have just described – it probably oversimplifies what life is like for a foreigner in Ghana, while at the same time sensationalizing aspects that really aren’t all that sensational at all. And it’s probably really boring to read. Sorry.

But I wrote it for a reason. I wrote it partly for posterity – because I want to remember every single mundane detail so well I can close my eyes in my suburban Canadian bedroom and conjure up images of Accra. And I wrote it partly for the next intern - so that they’re prepared for the early mornings and the early nights, and so they can rest assure that after the craziness of the first two weeks, a pattern (dare I say, a lifestyle?) emerges, and writing a clichéd, problematic “day in the life” post suddenly becomes a possibility. And that’s kind of cool.


5:00am – Press the snooze button for the second time (this is sometimes followed by some swearing under my breath, mostly directed towards the roosters that woke me up even before my 4:45 alarm…)

5:08am – Crawl out from under my mosquito net, turn on the hot water heater, and slowly get the day started.

Sometime between 5:30am and 6:15am – Leave for work. (The 45 minute window owes its existence to my four-year-old host sister, who sometimes decides her need to sleep outweighs our need to be punctual. I had forgotten what it’s like to live with a young family, and this was one of the best parts of living with my host family).

My host family lives in Oyarifa, which is about 45minutes away from the city centre, where both my host parents and myself work, and where my host-siblings to go school. With the morning traffic this drive can easily turn into a 3 hour ordeal, so we leave early enough to avoid the worst of it. I often fall asleep on the way, and sometimes we would buy some juice, fruit, or the deep-fried doughnut type bo-fruit for breakfast from one of the many vendors who walk up to your window as you sit at a traffic light. My host mom dropped me off every morning near the main trotro station, Tema Station, so that I could make the last leg of my commute on my own. No matter how soundly asleep I was in the car, the chaos of Tema Station never fails to completely wake (startle? traumatize?) me up.

7:00am (ish) – Arrive at the office. I might stop at one of the shops near the office to buy a loaf of bread or some cheese for breakfast, which I eat along with the other early arrivals (usually other interns) over a cup of instant coffee (instant Nescafe is literally everywhere. Fresh-ground medium roast, sadly, is not). This first hour before the work day really begins is a nice way to ease into things, read the news and catch up on all the internet-ing I missed out on while I was at home (no wi-fi where I live, although my host siblings are threatening a general strike until their dad remedies that situation. I support their petition, but living without constant access (or constant cell reception, for that matter) was kind of refreshing).

8:00am – work begins in earnest. My projects at HRAC have been super interesting – I’ve helped polish up a major research report on the causes and impacts of gender-based violence in Ghanaian schools and attended workshops designed to help guidance counsellors handle this kind of issue; I’ve helped re-design the medical form used in cases of domestic violence; I’ve helped develop background knowledge on next year’s 8 focus areas; and I’ve had the opportunity to talk to people working on issues ranging from access to healthcare to LGBT rights.

12:00pm – Lunch time! In the neighborhood around the office there are a bunch of small food kiosks we all refer to by their main menu item. The waakye lady, the red-red lady, the fruit lady, the noodle lady, etc. After picking up whatever meal we each want, we all crowd around a table on the balcony of the office and eat and chat. By 1:00 we’ve usually laughed our hearts out and filled our stomachs, and it’s time to get back to work.

4:00pm – the work day is done! If it’s Tuesday, we all take a walk down to Oxford street where our favourite bar, Republic, has happy hour and some deliciously unique cocktails (Terrible Frozen Harmattan was my go-to) – not to mention Cassava chips that will make you wonder why on earth it took you so long to figure out what cassava is, anyway. We hang out at Republic for a few hours and then each make our way to our respective corners of the city. For myself, I hop in a cab and meet my host mom at her law school, where she takes classes every evening (trotros, and especially chaotic trotro stations, are not the most fun at night).

If it’s not a Tuesday then I jump in a trotro and head back to Tema station. From there I can walk to my host sister’s school and get a ride home with whoever is picking her up. The odd time she doesn’t go to school, I trotro all the way home, which means switching cars at one of the most overwhelming places I’ve ever been – Madina Market. Madina Market is a market and a major trotro station. It’s loud, muddy and smelly, and the boys are handsy and the market women can be pushy. The trotro mates (the young men who tell you where their bus is going and take your money and call out the stops) are lively and friendly the way all high school-aged boys are when a girl walks by. It’s fun to be part of the hustle and bustle, but less fun to be its topic.

6:30-7:00pm – finally home, I dig in to the food that my host sister has made for the family and grab a seat on the couch to watch a badly-dubbed but strangely addictive Spanish TV novella with the rest of the gang. We chat about the day and before I know it, it’s time for bed.

9:00pm – time for the second shower of the day, which is expected of everyone due to the inevitable layer of dirt and sweat you pick up over the course of the day. I iron clothes for the next day, take a few minutes to myself to read or listen to music, and then crawl back under the mosquito net.

10:30pm – I’m fast asleep, ready for another 5am start and whatever adventures Wednesday brings!

Une croissance personnelle

August 12, 2014 | Rémi, POL, Jeunesse Canada Monde, Sénégal, RADDHO

Étant de retour au Canada depuis une semaine, les habitudes reprennent tranquillement leur place et la vie quotidienne se réinstalle peu à peu. Le partage d’expérience lors de la semaine de réinsertion aura permis de comprendre les anxiétés et les différentes expériences vécues par les stagiaires ayant voyagés dans d’autres pays. Tous assurément ont vécu des moments incroyables dans leur pays d’accueil.

Personnellement, chaque expérience à l’international me permet de me découvrir un peu plus moi-même. Je découvre ou redécouvre de quelle façon je me comporte face à des situations de stress ou tout simplement dans un environnement qui ne m’est pas familier. Le Sénégal m’aura permis, entre autres, de réaliser à quel point les contacts humains sont importants. Ainsi, le simple fait de prendre le temps de bien se saluer et de s’informer de l’autre personne est une habitude sénégalaise que j’espère garder avec moi. Bien que certains comportements sénégalais puissent encore aujourd’hui me laisser perplexe, cette intégration de trois mois dans la culture sénégalaise aura certainement fait de moi une meilleure personne, et ce, en essayant d’intégrer dans ma personnalité des habitudes sénégalaises qui favorisent les contacts interpersonnels.

the end

August 6, 2014 | Quinn, DVM, Uniterra, NEPAL, Aadharbhut Prasuti Sewa Hospita

How do you summarize and say good bye to an experience such as this? The ups and downs, days of joy, days of banging my head against the wall in frustration, days of desperate cheese burger cravings. I can’t believe the wealth of knowledge I’ve acquired in the last three months. From Nepali cooking to the intracies of turning a breach baby in utero it has been an amazing experience. The worse part of leaving is I feel that I have just begun to understand Kathmandu, the buses, the languages and how to actually get things done in this crazy place. I keep looking for opportunities for share what I’ve learned, but how many people truly want to know which bus to take from Balku to Jawahiel, or where you can get 30 rupee momo’s?
The staff at APS are some of the most amazing and dedicated women I have met. I can’t believe that in one weeks’ time I will have to pack my bags and leave their beautiful smiles behind. I will miss the laughs over momos, endless cups of tea, discussions of health care and language mishaps. I’m so inspired by how much these ladies achieve every single day, their unfailing kindness and wondrous dedication to APS. My boss Rashmi has had such a huge impact on my aspirations, I am honestly considering a career midwifery after my time in APS. APS has challenged me in ways I have never thought possible. It has been a rollercoaster of emotion throughout the three month, and within the course of each and every day. The nature of APS left me frustrated with the lack of direction, but it forced me to learn the true definitions of initiative and ingenuity. I am amazed at the things you can do with excel, and if I do say so myself, thoroughly impressed with the excel templates I created for APS. Aside from Excel I did everything under the sun for APS, form communication workshops, to grants and networking. I feel as though I am just beginning to see the holes in APS, and the ways to fix them. I know my mandate will included me asking what I can continue to do form them well in Canada. The potential of this organization and the amazing things they are trying to achieve make it to hard to quit cold turkey.
Although my time here has been amazing, the realities if the third word have begun to wear on me. As the end of my mandate approaches I am developing a keen sense of why expats live the way they live. The location of my work and nature of a homestay has left me leading a very ‘Nepali’ lifestyle. I can tie a sari, take the bus like a local and have become accustom to wedging myself between cows and speeding vehicles on my way to work. Though I treasure these experiences and the am very appreciative of the knowledge I have gained I don’t know if I could live such a ‘Nepali’ lifestyle if I was here for a longer period of time. At first I was a little bit ashamed of this realization, that if I was to work in development I may end living in an ‘expat suburb’ and ordering the occasional pizza from time to time, but as I digested this realization, I have slowly come to accept that that lifestyle may not be the end of the world. I am from a western country, a middle class family, for the quiet clean suburb in Vancouver – is it wrong for me to crave some sense of ‘normal’ in my new home? I feel that hitting a balance of Nepal and ‘normal’ would be extremely important, especially if you’re here for the long haul. I don’t condone disappearing into expat culture and forgetting the realities of the world around you but, I firmly believe in the right to slice of the ‘west’ in an international life.
Nepal has been a whirlwind. There are no words to truly describe my time here. This little mountain country has taught me so much, about life, about family, about babies. The best part is I can start to see it, see a career that I would be passionate about, and see where I would fit into an NGO. That realization that I have a future in development, a tangible future, lights a fire under me like never before. I’m not ready to leave Kathmandu, but I am ready to get started finishing my degree so I can get on a plane to come back.

Bittersweet Goodbye

August 6, 2014 | Andrea, DVM, Uniterra, NEPAL, Fair Trade Group Nepal

It’s official, tomorrow night I will be on my way back to Canada and the thought of this makes me both sad and excited. I have had such an incredible time in Nepal and I find it very difficult to put all my feelings into words. The last three months of living in Nepal has been a whirlwind experience. The time has just flown by and as I reflect on everything I experienced, the good and the bad, I can’t help but notice how the hectic Kathmandu lifestyle has allowed me to grow in more ways than I thought possible.

My work with FTG Nepal I was given the opportunity to meet so many different people, and together each of these individuals has helped me gain a better understanding about life in the Third World. I was impressed by each of the people I met. As I listened to their stories about how they have overcome their personal struggles, I’ve come to view my own issues in a new light. I also had the opportunity to work with FTG Nepal’s member organizations, all of which are successful businesses who are supporting the fair trade movement, putting the people and the environment before profits. Each of the businesses have a different business model, yet they each manage to produce high quality goods in a sustainable manner while providing producers with a liveable wage, as well as economic and social benefits. The present and future success of these business on the local and international market will help diversify Nepal’s economy and bring change to people’s lives.

Settling into the Kathmandu lifestyle was surprisingly easy for me. Living in Kathmandu was crazy and every morning when I walked out of the CECI passage house there was a new adventure or experience waiting. I was consistently challenged by the differences in Canada’s and Nepal’s socio-cultural norms and lifestyle, my patience was regularly tested and this ultimately allowed for enormous personal growth. I know that this internship was meant to be an educational experience related to my studies (International Development), but while living in a country that is half way around the world and so far away from the people I love, I’ve come to learn more about myself than I ever thought I would. Also, despite any frustrations that I may have had during my stay, I am very grateful for having been able to take advantage of this opportunity, to travel half-way around the world and work with truly inspiring people that have changed their lives and helped change the lives of other peoples. Nepal is a beautiful country with inspirational people, delicious food and amazing landscapes. It’s a bittersweet goodbye Nepal, but you will be missed.

Les derniers moments

July 30, 2014 | Marilyne, ANT, Alternatives, Italie, Un ponte per (UPP)

Je quitte demain pour le Canada, il n’y a pas à dire, ces douze dernières semaines sont passées à une vitesse incroyable. Hier était ma dernière journée au bureau et ce soir j’irai souper dans une pizzeria renommée de Trastevere avec mes amis! Je suis particulièrement triste de dire au revoir à Stefano et Danièle puisque c’est avec eux que j’ai passé le plus de temps durant mon séjour ici. D’un autre coté, depuis quelques jours, je vis un peu dans l’anticipation de mon départ mais surtout de mon arrivée au Canada. Quand je suis partie il y a douze semaines, j’ai laissé ma vie au complet derrière moi et j’ai hâte de la retrouver. Ma famille, mon copain et mes amies me manquent. Mon sentiment est difficile à décrire, à la fois j’aimerais ne pas quitter ma vie ici, autant je sais que c’est terminé et je ne pense qu’à être à la maison. Je suis un peu nostalgique de toutes ces « dernières fois » certes, mais j’ai profité de ma « dernière » fin de semaine pour voir les endroits qui ont marqué mon séjour ici en plus de découvrir de nouveaux endroits. Je suis notamment allée au Marché de Porta Portese qui se trouve près de chez moi ! Il s’agit du plus grand marché de Rome et l’on y trouve de tout. Puisqu’il ne se tient que les dimanches entre 8 et 14 heures, l’achalandage est monstre et les visiteurs viennent de partout pour faire de bonnes affaires ! J’ai aussi visité le parc de la Villa Borghèse qui est le plus connu de Rome pour ses jardins, ses musées, ses bâtiments culturels ainsi que sa vue imprenable sur la ville. On m’avait recommandé d’y aller pour assister au couché du soleil et je ne suis franchement pas déçue d’avoir suivi ce conseil. Pour terminer, je me suis rendue à la Basilique Saint-Clément. Je n’avais jamais entendu parler de cet endroit et je me demande franchement pourquoi ! Il s’agit d’une basilique qui représente près de 2000 ans d’histoire religieuse! En effet, il est possible de visiter les étages inférieures qui se révèlent être des lieux de culte sur lesquels d’autres lieux de culte on été construit au fil des époques ! C’est tout à fait impressionnant et cela permet de visualiser la manière dont les villes nouvelles sont construites par-dessus les plus anciennes.

Cette ville aura toujours une signification particulière pour moi. J’ai appris énormément de choses sur moi-même et sur le monde durant mon stage ici. J’ai lu beaucoup au sujet de la situation au Moyen-Orient et j’ai appris beaucoup sur des situations auxquelles je n’étais pas sensibilisée et j’ai vu des choses incroyables. Puisque je suis une personne qui crois fermement que l’avenir réside dans l’éducation, je fais de mon mieux pour informer mon entourage des conflits. Cela peut sembler anodin, mais tenter de changer la perception que les générations avant nous (et même la nôtre malheureusement) ont des peuples du Moyen-Orient n’est pas chose facile. Cependant, c’est une étape nécessaire à la prise de conscience de la communauté internationale.

Nameste from Nepal!

July 30, 2014 | Quinn, DVM, Uniterra, NEPAL, Aadharbhut Prasuti Sewa Hospita

Time is flying by! Nepal has been quite the experience, the traffic, the food, and the cows. The people, the amazing, fascinating culture. I’m quickly falling in love with the Nepalese, their kindness and generous nature. I have been asked innumerable times if I like Nepal, if everyone has been treating me ok.
The first couple weeks were whirlwind of CECI training, language classes, work orientation and a whole new family. Despite all the warnings at training and steeling for massive culture shock the transition has gone rather smoothly. It is very exciting to see the theory I have been studying for three years come to life! Textbooks and professors could never fully explain the complexity and depth of Third world issues or touch on the important skills required for living and working in the developing world. My knowledge neoclassical development theory has helped me to understand why the policies of the country I’m in developed the way they did but, did not prepare me to ride on the back of a motorcycle with a goat or take a bucket shower. Living in the developing world is an eye opening experience, I has also help to solidify my desire to work and live in the third world.
I live with a lovely Nepalese in Kalanki, a very ‘Nepalese’ area on Ring Rd. on the outskirts of Kathmandu. After 3 years of living on my own it has been quite the readjustment to have a mother setting curfews, asking were I’m going, insisting I eat more. My favorite Nepalese word is ‘puugio’ or ‘enough’ which has been extremely helpful is stemming the heaping spoonful’s of rice my mother insists on heaping onto mu plate.
For my three month internship, I am working at Aadharbhut Prasuti Sewa (A.P.S.) Hospital, an independent, low cost birthing center run by some of the most inspiring hardest working women I have ever met. A.P.S. is a social enterprise initiative conceived by a group of experienced female health professionals with a passion to improve the health of women and child in Nepal, while empowering women in the Healthcare profession. A.P.S. work to provide free health services to women and children, including pregnancy, birthing, postnatal and reproductive health care to low income residents in Kathmandu. A.P.S. was founded by experienced female healthcare professionals who have an exciting vision to improve the health of Nepal’s women and children and bring standalone midwifery care to Nepal. A.P.S. works closely with the District Public Health Office, the local community and women groups, and encourage them to take ownership to assist in improving health in their families and society. The APS vision is to be a model institution in promoting independent free-standing natural birthing centers in Nepal, offering a site to train and support skilled, compassionate skilled birth attendants including nursing students.
At APS my role is ever changing, and always interesting. My mandate is as an organizational development intern, helping to implement strategic plans and operations, develop financial management and strengthen communication within A.P.S. My mandate is very broad, and I’m still working with my bosses to narrow down what they’d like and how exactly to achieve it. So far I’ve been working to develop the inventory system for the APS pharmacy, and build excel templates to expedite government reporting process.
Working at A.P.S. has been a wonderfully eye opening experience in to the complexities of running health care NGO, and hardships of limited funds. I am very excited to be able to see the tangible links between my major in development, and minor in health sciences. Health care in the developing world presents a unique set of issues both to health care providers and patients, A.P.S. is a fishbowl for watching the sacrifices and decision made every day by nurses and patients as they confront health care problems, with a unique social and cultural context in the midst of crippling poverty. I am very excited to see what insights the upcoming months will bring, personally, academically and professionally.

In the Thick of it

July 30, 2014 | Quinn, DVM, Uniterra, NEPAL, Aadharbhut Prasuti Sewa Hospita

It is funny how quickly you settle into life, how all the things that upon arrival that seemed crazy and foreign are now commonplace and simply a fact of life in Kathmandu. Every day in Nepal is a learning experience, a test to your flexibility, challenge of your bus route knowledge and enormous space for personal growth. Kathmandu has forced me into a fiercely independent state, and the nature of the CECI relationship with partners has encouraged the development of this fierce independence. There was very little coddling rather three days of training and a hard shove out the nest. It has both been terrifying, and liberating to have to figure out Kathmandu, APS, and Nepali family life all by myself. I find myself very proud of the fact that I can make it day to day on my own in the third world.
It’s the small differences in life and attitude that I’m finding the most difficult to adjust to. Having to make these adjustments has really helped me to better understand my own socio-cultural biases and given me the opportunity to view problems and situations through a different socio-cultural lens. The soft approach Nepalese take to confrontation and sharing their ideas has required me to completely change my approach to conflict. My hard edged western ways seem to scare them deeper into their shells and make my job of getting their idea’s even harder.
This internship, will be helpful to my understanding of the Third world and my career trajectory within the field of development. APS has provided me with a truly unique experience. Breaking the clock watching, box checking habits of the West and learning to think outside the box, or within a limited amount of resources has been an ongoing adventure. I have learned more about Excel then I thought possible within this timeframe and been plunged into the complicated world of government reporting. Although I choose APS mainly because of my interest in health care, but beginning to understand the business side of running an NGO will be invaluable in the long run. I have also been asked to run a communication seminar on nurse patient communication and breaking bad news to patients, which will place with well out of my comfort zone. Thankfully my years as a first aid instructor makes the teaching portion of the seminar easy, I am nervous about my foray into teaching nurses about how to tell a patient that their child died during the labor process. As I head into July I will begin to explore the world of funding, grant writing and volunteer management. Working at APS has definitely solidified my love of developing health care, and provided my with a unique base on knowledge with which to assess the case studies and concepts presented in the upcoming school year.

Bilan de mon stage

July 29, 2014 | Marilyne, ANT, Alternatives, Italie, Un ponte per (UPP)

Pour mon stage à l’étranger, je savais deux choses : je voulais partir durant ma dernière année de BAC avant d’entrer sur le marché du travail et je voulais retourner à Rome, puisque l’été dernier, j’avais eu le coup de foudre. J’étais venue passé trois jours dans la ville éternelle lors d’un voyage d’un mois en Europe. Je m’étais promis de revenir un jour, je ne pensais pas le faire de si tôt, ni pour aussi longtemps. Comme quoi la vie est pleine de surprises !

Au niveau personnel cela m’a apporté une ouverture d’esprit encore plus grande. J’avais toujours eu envie de partir de chez moi et de voyager, mais m’établir quelques temps dans un pays étranger m’a aider à me dépasser. De plus, je dirais que ce stage m’a donné l’occasion de me questionner sur moi-même et sur ce que je considère important en plus de m’obliger à remettre en perspective ce que je considère trop souvent comme acquis…

Au niveau professionnel, je suis un peu déçu puisque je n’ai vraiment pas appris autant que je l’aurai pensé. J’ai un peu l’impression que j’ai été prise par l’organisme parce que ça leur faisait plaisir de recevoir quelqu’un d’ailleurs pour agrandir leur réseau de relations internationales, mais ils ne savaient pas quoi me faire faire… Tout le monde était déborder par ses propres projets, je n’ai donc reçu aucune formation… Ma principale activité aura été la traduction de documents officiels et la rédaction de rapports. Je dois toutefois mentionner que l’expérience de travail que j’ai acquise ici m’a permis de me trouver un nouvel emploi pour mon retour au Canada! Il est indéniable qu’un stage à l’international sur un CV montre des qualités très recherchées par les employeurs.

Le point positif est que j’ai eu beaucoup de temps libre et j’ai passé de nombreuses heures à lire les actualités du Moyen-Orient principalement en Irak et sur la situation en Palestine. Je comprend maintenant mieux les enjeux de cette région du monde. J’aurai cependant aimé voir ce que Un Ponte Per… fait sur le terrain et le travail que nécessite l’aide d’urgence dans les régions touchées et pour les populations qui sont victimes des conflits.

Pour moi, la période de 12 semaines était correcte, même si dernièrement je pense de plus en plus souvent à rentrer à la maison. Je dois avouer franchement que les deux dernières semaines sont les plus longues. Durant mon séjour en Italie, j’ai vu des paysages magnifiques, j’ai vécu des expériences que je n’aurais pas pu vivre si j’étais restée à la maison et j’ai rencontré des gens dont je me souviendrai toute ma vie. Un des accomplissements dont je suis le plus fière au niveau personnel est l’aisance avec laquelle je vis désormais ici. Je me souviens, durant mes premières semaines, je me perdais durant des heures tous les jours dans les rues de Rome et je m’éternisais devant les étagères à l’épicerie. Aujourd’hui, trois mois plus tard, je m’oriente sans problème, je donne des directions aux touristes et je suis devenue une professionnelle du transport en commun !

Je n’ai pas fait beaucoup de rencontre en dehors de mon organisme d’accueil, mis à part l’ami de mon collègue avec qui je suis sortie quelques fois. Je ne suis pas une personne timide par nature, mais le premier contact est le plus difficile à engager et aller vers les gens en étant seule est plus compliqué qu’il n’y parait. Je regrette un peu de ne pas être sortie plus souvent pour rencontrer de nouvelles personnes et élargir mon réseau. Le fait que j’ai habité seule n’a pas contribué à améliorer la chose…
Je recommande tout de même à ceux qui veulent partir pour une courte période de le faire seul. En partant totalement seul, on apprend beaucoup plus, beaucoup plus vite et on se découvre en découvrant une autre culture. Pour ma part, je sais que si j’avais eu quelqu’un qui parle français à mes cotés chaque jour, je n’aurai pas autant essayer de m’adapter et de vivre comme les Romains.