Personally I don't have a problem with public speaking, but I did get a little nervous when I first thought of presenting. Why? Well, I have never stopped and put down on paper (or in a power point) why an internship is important. Of course I know why, but how do you relay that information to students and young professionals who's culture doesn't really even know what an internship is?
At an Embassy garden party I attended recently at the Ambassador's home, I spoke with a gentleman in the Ministry of Culture here in Macedonia. He was baffled by the situation I had placed myself in; paying to travel to Macedonia, working for no monetary benefit or contractual reason, and doing so with excitement and great expectations. He was even more surprised to learn that our educational system is moving to virtually requiring all undergraduates to do at least one internship as a graduation requirement. Obviously this is something new to the educational system here.
So this experience, preparing for this presentation, has really shown a light onto why I am really here. I haven't had any great awakenings over this, but I do have a new since of appreciation for my own culture and experiences it has, in some cases forced, me to have. I am also very excited to share this piece of America with the students on Thursday, as the same day USAID will be announcing their internship program opportunities here in Macedonia with the American Corners. As I think about all of the great benefits I am gaining from doing this internship, it makes me quite excited to realize I may help to steer others into the same situation who would have never done such a thing before. Helping others is one of the reasons I came here, and now I get to do so in a manner I never expected to. Awesome!
Oh, and I am going to begin posting pictures this week!