internship may have a different meaning here, but you get what you put in! if you show up every day and prove you are a reliable and thoughtful person, there will be lots for you to do; even if it doesn’t end up being what you thought you’d do or what they assign you to do
connect with people at your internships, whether they are your supervisors or not. learn about their work, where they came from, how they got there, and what their motivation is.
learn the efficiencies and inefficiencies of your organization; what they do and don’t do. this may help you in your career, and it might not. but it is interesting and ultimately, you are here to learn (remember.. these are course credits!).
addis is a never ending international city. check out different neighborhoods. walk down a friendly looking alley and eat traditional food amongst locals. go to azmari bet and shake ya shoulder’s (in all the cities you go to!)
if you want to stay in your comfort zone, there are plenty of american style food and nightlife options. you can pay extra to stay in the world you know. but, i recommend that you look around.
country and people
if you didn’t fly half-way across the world to remain in your bubble, good news for you. ethiopia has one of the most varied and diverse climates in the world, and travel is cheap, accessible (with a few exceptions), and unique.
you have a rare opportunity to make friends and spend time with people that grew up in a totally different socio-economic space. you can visit their homes, whether in an addis apartment or a rural mud house. try to communicate, but if you cant, they will still welcome you with open arms and hearts, sharing with you whatever they have, despite how much they may or may not have. in your western monetary consciousness, you will want to repay them somehow. you don’t have to; i’ve heard many times that just coming in is a gift. share your experience with them and they will share yours, and you will both be culturally richer in the end.
allow your New School-trained perceptions to be challenged and explored, to discover what about your studies is valid and what is detached. i believe this will make you a stronger student and professional.
practice coping when things are hard! you will feel stronger emotionally and physically after this, no matter how sh*tty you may feel in a certain moment. there are millions of people in the country working hard to survive each day with much less of luxury and support than you. i’m not necessarily saying to compare, but be sensitive to how you sound when you are complaining. after all, you represent our school and in a way, our country. so, adapt, and do your best even if/when it’s not easy.
yosef, or another coordinator, and your IFP student assistant are there to help you. whatever experience you want to have in ethiopia (within reason) they will help you to have. and if you have ANY problem at any time, call them!
friends and loved ones
you will miss and be missed! you will not have consistent wifi unless you make it your summer’s priority (which is not a recommendation). learn new ways to connect and communicate aside from verbal or face to face. write letters! type out emails to send when you can!
accept the space, try to be okay in your new space, and figure out what’s best for you.
again, make new friends! or be a friend to someone who needs one.