Oh the places where I will go: Part 1

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away! – Dr. Seuss

Going off to university is a scary thing. We have all these ideas and dreams on how our university career will shape us. Upon applying to the University of Waterloo’s International Development program, I was ecstatic that we were given the opportunity to intern aboard with an NGO and make a change. Whether it be small or big, I was excitingly, impatiently, and hopefully waiting to finally reach that stage where I would be able to apply and be granted a placement. And finally, just a mere few weeks ago, after hearing countless stories from alumni and the graduating class, I finally received the letter. As cliché as it sounds, I remember everything about that day, what happened before and after. Getting that letter, was one of the happiest moments in my life (I literally cried in happiness, my dad thought I was crazy).

After months of waiting, it has been decided that I will be moving to Hue, Vietnam and working as an intern for the Consultative and Research Centre on Natural Resource Management (CORENARM). It’s going to be a mouthful saying that organization to all my friends and family now.

CORENARM is a local NGO of the ancient city of Hue that specializes in Resource conservation and management, sustainable livelihood for local communities, and climate change adaptation for local communities.

Through talking to the graduating class who just came back from their placements, I have learnt that placement is not about tangible roles and tasks that you complete within your NGO. It is about the experiences and opportunities that you make of it. It is about taking risks and trying new things. It is about the impact that a new culture and community can have on you.  It is about the people that you meet who change your perspectives on what is important. There will be many frustrating challenges that I will have to overcome, but I am hopeful, optimist and excited to embark on this journey.