Today is the interns' last day in Iraq, so I thought this would be a great time to reflect on my experience here. At surface level, it would seem that this internship was the worst experience of my life…
- I lost my (expensive) noise cancelling headphones on the plane before I even arrived (still sorry about that, Mom and Dad).
- I woke up anywhere between 3 and 5:30 every morning due to the brightness of the Iraqi sun or the summer heat (being a light sleeper makes things extra difficult).
- Despite my best efforts, I was constantly a sweaty, greasy mess. So much for looking professional, eh?
- For weeks I experienced intense stomach pain, before finally going to the doctor. I ended up making four hospital visits total, only to be told that the results of all of my tests indicated that I was completely healthy.
- Some of these tests required a sample, and during my initial visit I was given three IV bags of fluids to combat my dehydration. Oops…
- I had the chance to meet a sweet little boy we are helping receive surgery. When given the opportunity to take a photo with the little cutie in my arms, he immediately began screaming his head off, much to his parents’ alarm (see top photo).
But despite the sleepless nights and the awkward, smelly situations, I can honestly say that I will miss this place and my experiences here so much.
The opportunity to use my skills to serve an organization I admire has been a truly humbling experience. My dream is to create media that compels people to act, and I know I was able to do that during this internship. The staff here mentored and helped me improve my craft and gain confidence in my abilities. Although I am sad to leave, I feel excited and better equipped to enter the workforce upon my return to the States now that I’ve had this experience.
My heart has been drawn to the Middle East for the past four years, for reasons I still can’t understand or explain. I never thought I’d get the opportunity to come here, and now I can’t believe that I have to leave so soon!
But I’m holding out, because I have a feeling I’ll be back someday.