It’s the last day of my internship here and I cannot believe how fast time has flown by! The experience has been incredible and unforgettable. Although at times it was overwhelming, especially on the first few weeks of my stay, now I can definitely say that life as an Andaman Discoveries intern has been rewarding. I could not thank the amazing staff in Andaman enough for their never-ending support that helped lift me whenever I faltered (which happened quite a lot I have to admit), their patience with everything is commendable to say the least! So to the future interns, listen up, here are some handy tips for you:
- Remember, you cannot be perfect. As an intern we are there to learn, and we are bound to make mistakes. I recall the first time that I came; I was anxious, tense, and nervous. All I wanted to do was make a good impression. For the first few weeks the one thought that often pops in my mind was, “Oh I hope they don’t regret taking me in as an intern”, so I tip-toed my way through day by day. It was only when I started to let go of control (and everything else in between) that I began to find my rhythm and enjoy things as they come. Keeping calm and relaxing does wonders to me (and really good Thai Massage helps too!) and it will do wonders for you too!
- If you feel as if there is nothing to do, find something to do. There’s no use to just wait for things to happen or people to come to you, because life just does not work that way. Ask questions and engage people, okay you don’t speak the language and that might be intimidating at first but once you make the first step it will take you far. Really. The worse you could do is fail but that does not mean that you could not pick yourself back up again.
- But really failing is not so bad. Giving up is. So when you see a roadblock right up ahead, try to work your way around it. When you’re trying to work or start up a project in a country and a language unfamiliar to you, things are bound to be difficult. Re-evaluate and re-group, seek help, find another alternative because trust me in Kuraburi there will definitely be something for you. I have to say doing the Burmese Learning Center project was one of the best experience I’ve ever had even when I was supposed to be working on something and somewhere much different.
Don’t be afraid to start something new! To be completely truthful while I dabbled in graphics and arts, I consider myself a novice. But I went ahead, proposed to do one, and made something that I can say that I am proud of. So don’t hesitate to try and propose something that you’ve never done before, cause you might actually like it (and be good at it too.).
And finally, always remember to never expect too much. As a development student, everything has always been black and white, I was taught that you can either fail or succeed – everything is so concrete. Working with AD and the communities here has been incredibly eye opening. Reading about the theories and strategies is one thing, and living them is another. I learn that you cannot direct things, you cannot assume things and you cannot impose things. These are basic information that people already know but always miss, me included. If you want things to work, you have to first understand and everything else is secondary.
I am so incredibly grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside the amazing staff, and to be able to closely observe the different communities, organisation and extraordinary individuals that they work with. I have gained so much experience and knowledge, more than what I could have obtained in school. I have to give the staff so much respect considering how small and understaffed the organisation is, especially after witnessing how hectic things can be (I’m pretty sure at one point I had to stay in the office by myself). People need to know that you ladies are amazing!
Besides the beautiful islands, random group retreats, relaxed atmosphere and amazing food, I can sincerely say that I’m really going to miss the people here. I will leave Kuraburi with a better understanding of how development works and numerous life lessons that I most probably will never get elsewhere. Thank you for everything! Loads of love from the Brunei girl.