Change is the biggest self-growth gift you can give yourself

Faculty of Social Sciences
From the Field
Trinidad and Tobago

By Krista

Disarmement Program Support Officer, Mines Action Canada

A group of people discussing around a table
Trinidad and Tobago flag on the right side of the foreground. A road on the side along with the sky and the sea in the background
"This experience is so different from your regular semester taking 4-5 classes, being stressed, and studying for hours upon hours."

Krista, Honours BSocSc Conflict Studies and Human Rights
Internship Country: Trinidad and Tobago
Canadian NGO: Mines Action Canada
Local NGO: WINAD – Women's Institute for Alternative Development

After spending over two months abroad, I know this can be said by most international interns, but I want to be the one to say it: it definitely affects your outlook on life. Everyone back home in Ottawa is asking me, "Are you not missing home?" And while I miss some things, I can confidently say that getting to have a work experience abroad means I'm not missing much. This is my first time living alone, and it has been teaching me how to be independent and rely on myself. Being able to work in a different country is definitely a privilege, and what I've been
telling everyone is that if you get the opportunity, take it. Even if you are afraid of change, what is three months when you get out of your comfort zone a bit, then experience something you never have before? And always remember, while you are working and helping a local organization, you are living a completely different lifestyle and learning about a new culture. The list could go on and on; you are learning, getting work experience, meeting new people, eating new foods, and all while doing this, receiving credits for your degree and working in a field you enjoy. It is 100% worth it, even just to apply, in my opinion.

This experience is so different from your regular semester taking 4-5 classes, being stressed, and studying for hours upon hours. And while some things may not go as planned—for example, you are getting more work or different work than expected from the organization—this is all part of the experience of working in a different and new country. After speaking with some friends I've made who are also interning abroad with the university, I am learning that everything is different depending on your organization; some people are working with communities, some in an office, some are helping plan events, others are doing translation, and many more, but everyone does not regret their choice of going. I believe that this experience is a great way to teach yourself to go into things with an open mind and take opportunities when you can. I've always leaned towards having a structured routine and making plans well in advance. Doing this through the university definitely helped me with this concern, even though it is still a big step to take to move away from home if you haven't before. Uncertainties about the work I would be doing, my work schedule, and constant changes struck me as a setback. But, as time goes on, I see these changes as opportunities to learn new things and how they are positively impacting my life and memories in university before I graduate