Angele Clarke just finished her 6-month internship in San Fernando.
As the fifth round of intern(s) going to San Fernando, La Union, The Philippines I was extremely excited, but honestly a bit nervous at being the sole intern of my batch. All of the past batches were two people but on January 22nd I departed from Canadian soil alone. Over my six months I did experience some challenges being ‘alone’. In my host office I found it difficult to brainstorm with others and share my ideas. Everyone working in the office speaks English but Ilocano or Tagalog were the languages most commonly used as well as everyone was usually too busy to talk with me or assist me. Fortunately there was still people assisting me with my work and helping me’ keep my sanity’ throughout my term- all of the previous SCI San Fernando interns!
During my six months I had the pleasure of meeting, connecting with, and creating amazing friendships with five of the eight past interns. With two currently living in Hanoi, Vietnam, two in the Philippines and one in Indonesia, we have created a real network of young environmentalist Canadians in SE Asia- whom we can share our experiences and lessons about international development, assist one another finding job opportunities and, of course, provide a little Canadian-style humour when needed.
When the new intern, yet another brilliant, fun project officer arrived in Manila on Canada Day, I was able to confidently reassure her “don’t worry or stress, you really are not alone here”.
Needless to say, even though I am back in beautiful British Columbia, thoroughly enjoying the hot Canadian summer, I’m planning my return to the Philippines!