Friday, January 30, 2009

Que es desarrollo internacional?

I am half-way through my first week as an intern for Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) and so far, orientation has been fun/challenging (language-wise)/provoking.

The fun stuff includes our stay in a great pension (hostel) where the hosts organized an asado on our first night and a milonga (tango) on our second. Last night, another intern that has lived here since July took us out to a bar to play pool. Tonight, the interns (all 6 of us) had dinner with our future (as of tomorrow) host families.

Ok, difficult stuff: Spanish! When Argentines talk fast (aka normal pace), it flies completely over my head, but I feel like I am improving day-by-day. I am excited and worried about living with my host family and working in Spanish. Full immersion, here I come! I am sure that it will be difficult at first, but hopefully, it will get easier. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Provoking: What is international development? What does it mean? What are the goals? What role do I play, especially as an outsider? Every day for orientation, we have been having workshops on a variety of things. We have touched on project expectations, time lines, budgets, interactions with our supervisors, and, of course, living with a host family. We all had to make 15-minute presentations in Spanish on a topic of our choosing. I talked about my experience in India and showed pictures. After, we had a discussion about different levels of development. Obviously, Argentina is very different from India in terms of clean water, infrastructure, health and educational services, etc. Therefore, our projects here might not accomplish something as concrete as my rain-water harvesting system. My project may be a workshop or a survey or research. However, my brain doesn't work that way. I need concrete solutions (hence, why I like math and science). I hope that I can adjust my expectations to the needs here, so I won't be disappointed with my work.

I met my supervisor at Biosfera yesterday. He's a great guy, motivated, smart, passionate, supportive. Plus, he really cares about his interns and invests time in them. I have heard only good things about him from other people, so I am excited to start on Monday.

My organization:

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