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Nicole's Thoughts On IYIP Orientation!

Hello my name is Nicole Secker, and I have made my home in Halifax, NS since starting, my now completed, studies in International development at Saint Mary’s University in 2011. I’m an IYIP intern with Chalice going to Bolivia as a Community Facilitator with Levántate Mujer Foundation.

Enthusiastic, Fearful, Stressed, Tired, Energetic, Brain Dead, Engaged, Anxious, Excited! In the past few weeks, since learning that I got the IYIP internship with Chalice going to Bolivia, I have been making a lot of lists. Packing lists, medication and injection lists, receipt lists, research lists, you name it and I have listed it. So above is a list of the string of confusing, befuddling, and intertwined - see there I go listing again - emotions that come with trying to prepare for the amazing opportunity of traveling overseas. Emotions that…were all made sense of… and then torn apart again, during an intense week of ACIC pre- departure training in Tatamagouche, NS.

The pre-departure training felt a lot like camp… a camp mixed with a few emotionally intense university courses. We had training sessions focused on a range of topics from power and oppression to cross- cultural interactions, to public engagement. The 19 other interns and I were flooded with a huge amount information that was both enlightening and challenging at the same time. At times this could be both emotionally and mentally exhausting as we discussed our way through some complex and emotionally heavy issues. However, this was balanced with an amazing amount of fun and companionship that developed over a very short five days. We celebrated with bonfires, ate amazing home cooked food, and played games of werewolf and twister, all while surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Tatamagouche Centre. So what did I get out of all this craziness? Let me list it for you:

  • 20 some Amazing new friends/colleagues;

  • The realization that I need to self-reflect more;

  • The opportunity to set realistic goals and focus my career ;

  • The lenses and tools to be an interculturally effective person or at least work on becoming one;

  • And a couple extra pounds…

I will be back after a few months, and several more lists, here on the ACIC blog. I’m also writing my own blog during my time in Bolivia which should be up running by the time I arrive there in two weeks.




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