“Adjustment to a new country as a foreign intern is a gradual process…and in the end, it’s very rewarding.”
“Adjustment to a new country as a foreign intern is a gradual process,” says Sammy. She hails from India, a country of many languages – though Thai is not one of them. At first, while working with children in a hospital the language barrier was tough.
But, through simple observation, she began to find ways to connect:
“After observing the child’s reaction to balloons, I began an activity playing catch, and then hide and seek. This made more movement, and less usage of words. The child enjoyed using his energy playing with me.”
As for the language barrier with fellow adults, Sammy has found that here, too, sometimes the simplest activities are the most rewarding:
“It makes a huge difference when you eat with the people you work with. A lot of experiences, stories and jokes are shared when you eat.”
“Even though one may not understand half the conversations said on the table, just existing there, sitting next to them, makes them familiar with you. It takes time to be a part of the conversation, but if you observe slowly you realize that just listening to the reactions when they speak and their expressions, you don’t need language to understand.”
In her internship, Sammy has done research on homelessness and missing persons, and makes regular site visits to the various aid projects her organization oversees. The language barrier has eased over time, especially as she and her co-workers have become more comfortable speaking (imperfectly) in one another’s languages. As her trip comes to an end, Sammy has one final goal: “try out the rest of the projects at the Foundation, and speak to people I haven’t spoken to yet.”
Sammy’s internship has given her a variety of hands-on work experiences that are of both practical and philosophical value: “I learned that all work, whether requiring manual labor or thinking, is very important. It all requires stamina and energy. I cleaned a fridge, I cleaned pathways, I segregated clothes, I pushed carts, I talked to locals, I donated bags of food and clothes. I went to a prison twice to volunteer.” In addition to providing Sammy with a 360-degree view of a successful nonprofit organization, the work she did strengthened her connections to others: “Every kind of work I did was part of the bond I built with my team mates and staff.”
(Photo Credit: The Mirror Foundation)
We’ve loved watching Sammy put herself out there in Thailand. In her last update to us, she said “I can’t describe how much I am thankful to World Endeavors for this experience.”
It was our pleasure, Sammy – we can’t wait to see what you do next!
Posted by World Endeavors on May 23, 2017
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.