Oh the places where I will go: Part 1

Congratulations!
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.

And in this craze world we live in there is hope

My fellow  indevour Erin  wrote an interesting post today about Lenses  (Please check it out and her blog). Essential Erin argued that we (human beings) view the world in different lens  (such as gender, culture, socio-economic level, sexuality, etc )  and these lenses affect the way we view certain issues and ideas.  However, it is important to understand and be aware of other lenses that may be different to you. The lack of understanding and awareness has caused many disputes and conflicts.

We are fortunate enough to be living in a society that allows people to fight back for their rights and freedoms. The global society is constantly being educated to use political correct terms, to be inclusive in their language and to respect others views and opinions. Yet, there are always a few ignorant folks who fail to do so.  The lack of responsibility for their actions has sparked many disputes and controversy. Just this past week, numerous headlines and events appeared on my social media from Coca- Cola’s American Beautiful Diversity Ad to Piers Morgan’s Misgendered Insults and to the highly debated Issues surrounding Sochi 2014 (All to be blogged and commented about in the later further).  But what they all have in common is the lack of understanding, lack of education and lack of awareness.

The craze of this world is surrounded by the lack of understanding, lack of education and lack of awareness. It is getting better but at what cost. The cost of humiliation, harassment, ridicule, and pain.  People are constantly fighting for their voice to be heard, to gain equal rights and privilege as the white elite men.  And slowly but surly they are winning their fights. Yet no matter where you go in the deepest darkest corners of the world you will find that one ignorant stubborn person that fails to listen to and understand the lenses of those around him or her.

But there is hope. Our generation is learning, becoming more educated and are making more informed decisions. While the spread of social media can be a threat to society it has proven to be blessed invention that has helped informed people, keep them connected with like minded souls, and helped create social change. Whether it be small or big, change occurs everyday.  It doesn’t matter where you are from or what you do or what you believe in. Just remember to stay informed, understand all points of view and lenses, and be aware that you opinion is not the only thing that matters. There are about 7.14 billion other beautiful souls out there that have a voice and that matter. Take the time and listen to their voice before you expect people to listen to yours. And that itself will give us hope.