I think with any kind of internship or study abroad program, you need to have a level of independence to truly be successful. More often than not, someone won’t be holding your hand throughout the process and it’s honestly good to at times fail so that you know how to be successful for the next time around.
I’m a pretty independent person to begin with and thought that I would be prepared for my time away and while you can anticipate what’s going to happen, you don’t really know what will happen until you’re in the middle of it. For me, I didn’t realize what I signed up for till the night before I was supposed to leave and had all sorts of anxious thoughts running through my mind. My dad ultimately reminded me that doing an internship program was going to be beneficial for me not only personally but professionally. He said that my placement in a hospital would give me direct insight into the kind of job that I’d want to have in the future and if I was cut out to be a nurse. Plus the fact that I would be doing this in Africa was a big bonus because not many people get to come here and experience what I got to.
And he was right, I would never of gotten this kind of opportunity back in the United States. Volunteering in children's ward and clinics? Sure. Shadowing a physiotherapist? Probably. Watching surgeries in the room where they’re performed and get offered the chance to assist? Absolutely not. And I got to do all of that because I took the chance to go to South Africa and learn about hospital life in a way that I’m fairly positive I wouldn’t have been able to experience back in the back home until I was a certified something, anything.
Like I said, I'm pretty independent person to begin with but living in South Africa pushed me to be even more independant. I luckily near basic house skills of how to cook and clean up after myself but when you’re tossed into a situation where you need to do it all on your own without help from others (because your room/flatmates will be in the exact spot) it can kind of be a culture shock that will make you appreciate all that you have back home.
An internship placement for an extended period of time will definitely give you insight to what living on your own, or with roommates while working full time will be like. Some of you may already know what that's like but if you’re a college student who’s either been a student with a little side job, know that this experience isn’t what you’d expect especially if you think that this is similar to living in a dorm. I imagine some aspects of it are but this has more of a “big boy/big girl” feel to it rather than your first time moving out of your home and into a dorm.
I think that if you’re looking into doing an internship program, you should go for it! I guarantee that it won’t be like anything you’d expect in the best way! You’ll learn so many things and you’ll meet and make many friends with whom only you’ll understand about this experience! Do it!