As I reflect on my summer internship abroad, mixed feelings and emotions cloud my thoughts…
Did I really just spend eight weeks in South Africa? When am I going to return? When will I see my new friends again? How has this experience affected my personal growth and perspective? Where do I go from here? How do I even explain this experience to my family, friends, and others?
Through this eight-week experience in Cape Town, I was able to see myself in a new environment, go on new adventures, gain new friends, all while working with a large-scale international organization. My time at the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) has provided me with a sneak peek into the daily activities of a humanitarian organization that supports the same goals and vision I hope to work with in the near future. Whether it be a conversation at the office, visiting the Children’s Hospital, travelling to Winter’s Wonderland, participating in the Nutrition Project, creating & developing a new SARCS website, or visiting the communities, I was able to develop my personal skills and experience something new every day!
I strongly believe in the value of multiple perspectives when analyzing different issues and health concerns. While at work, I heard various perspectives on different health concerns that I wouldn’t have considered to be an issue in the States. This includes Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (F.A.S.D.), HIV/AIDS, gangsterism, public housing, public safety, and more.
While working abroad with people from different cultures and backgrounds, I find myself reflecting on my own values and different matters of work ethics.
What do I value? How do my values affect my career choice?
The employees of the Red Cross strongly reflect the organizations’ values of holistic care and wellbeing for successful interventions and program development. I find this essential for prosperity of an organization and the contentment of its people. I have learned and experienced a wide variety of cultural exposure and characteristics that have allowed me to grow and reflect on my personal values, skills, areas of improvement, and future career pathways.
On that note, I sincerely wish to thank the South African Red Cross Society for allowing me to intern with them and gain the experiences and further knowledge that I will never forget. I feel as if I gained a new family through my summer internship abroad! I hope to keep in contact with the good-hearted individuals I have met with this summer, along with the staff of IES Abroad Cape Town.
Even from 8,680 miles away (yes, I Googled it), I know they are always needed and always there for me and the people they continue to serve.
Thank you IES Abroad and Thank you South African Red Cross Society for welcoming me into your communities.
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<p>Hi there! My name is Aida Mengistu and I am from Sioux City, Iowa. I am currently in my fourth year at the University of Iowa pursuing a double major in Health & Human Physiology - with a focus on Health Promotion - as well as a Global Health Studies major and an Anthropology minor. A bit about myself, I absolutely love to travel and experience new cultures and traditions! I tend to express myself through my photography, whether it be through the warmth of a morning sunrise or the interactions between people. I also enjoy music, movies, and the performing arts. Fun fact, I am originally from Ethiopia and have traveled twice before to visit my extended family members over the summer!</p>