I can’t believe it’s already a week into August! As our internships wrap up this week, we are busier than ever. There are projects to complete, bags to pack, and souvenirs to buy. At this point, you may be wondering if there is anything I would do differently if I had the chance to go back to the beginning of the internship. Here are a few off the top of my head for future interns to consider:
- Make sure to explore the city! You may find one spot you think is the best spot to hang out, has the strongest Wi-Fi connection, or has the best food, but don’t settle for the first places you visit! I guarantee you will find other spots that exceed your expectations.
- Leave your favourite clothing items at home. We’ve all lost a couple of clothes by trusting the Rock Beach staff with our laundry…
- Bring more snacks that remind you of home. Although supermarkets have the occasional American snacks, it wasn’t enough for us. If you’re heavily attached to your Asian food like me, make sure you have enough to fulfill your cravings! Make room in your suitcase for those instant noodles.
- Don’t exchange all of your American dollars the day you arrive! The safari company only accepted American dollars, so we spent a few days withdrawing shillings from the ATM and exchanging them back to dollars… Not fun!
- Get creative with your recipes! If you’re staying at the same hotel as we did, you won’t have a stove. Bring Tupperware from home, invest in a kettle, and get your creative cooking juices flowing!
- Plan your trips in advance. If I could redo this summer, I would have made time to go to Arusha and Moshi (and maybe even Mt. Kili!).
- Don’t ignore the power of sunscreen. I applied sunscreen religiously throughout the summer, and I’m STILL worried that my parents won’t recognize me at the airport.
- If you’re looking for good coffee, Africafe is always a safe bet!
Honestly, I am just now getting completely comfortable with the city. Back in May, surviving the three months felt incredibly out of reach, but the months flew by. The past 3 months have been an emotional rollercoaster. It was challenging because we needed to adjust to a new completely unfamiliar culture, and also needed to understand the customs in a workplace setting. In addition to this, the interns were not close friends before embarking on this trip, so it took time for us to open up to each other and gauge our likes and dislikes.
Despite the difficult adjustment periods, I would participate in this internship once more if I was given the opportunity. We met some incredible people who are passionate about helping others. We saw beautiful landscapes that we would not be able to see in any other country. We worked with people who pushed us out of our comfort zones. It was a learning opportunity like no other, and I hope to carry everything I learned back into my life in Canada. This summer has not only helped me in expanding my career horizons, but has reminded me that we are in a constant state of learning: There will always be opportunities to learn new things, and we should not be afraid to start from the bottom!
Thank you Mwanza for the experience and friendships of a lifetime. I’ll be back!