Saying Good-Bye: An account of one student’s thoughts about her summer internship

I truly got lucky by landing at Wings of Hope. To be honest, it sounded like the only option when I first started this summer, I was a psychology student and it was at a psychotherapy center. However, as the summer progressed it became obvious that I was right where I was supposed to be. The first week was slightly overwhelming, not only coming into a new culture; we were sprung into a new workplace style. When it seemed that every individual from every department came to ask us for assistance I felt honored and unprepared. I did not feel qualified to do even half of what was requested. I had barely finished my first year of graduate school; they had been in the field for years. Who was I to give any input on anything?

 

However, here we are eight weeks later. I feel like I have been able to provide adequate feedback and development to the projects that are beneficial to Wings of Hope. I may not have several papers or documents to showcase the work I did, but I feel like I made an impact. I have learned many lessons about what it means to be working internationally, especially at a relatively small and underfunded organization, working with a multicultural team, and working in an area that is still on the road to recovery. I learned more about Bosnia and Herzegovina as a country and as a home. I heard testimonies from those in the war. It felt almost like I did as much talking over coffee as actual work. This would never pass as acceptable in the United States. I also took something more away from the internship, I learned more about my values, my hopes, and my dreams. Talking to individuals about different career paths has a way of influencing your own. I loved my internship and would highly recommend Wings of Hope to any prospective interns.

 

As we reach our final days at our internship site I am starting to think about how to say goodbye to those who have made my eight weeks so meaningful. However, I have realized that it truly isn’t goodbye, rather “until I next time.” All of these individuals have changed me; they were crucial parts of me falling in love with Sarajevo.

 

I have to give many thanks to my supervisor, Maja, without her my experience would have been incredibly different. She gave so much of herself to us, her generosity, dark humor, and support was offered freely daily. She trusted and respected us completely. It was amazing to be thrown in as an intern with such appreciation for our knowledge. I have never experienced this in the states.

 

Wings of Hope is a nonprofit psychotherapy and psycho-education organization. But that description does not fully fit the large capacity that this small center has. Continuously it creates new programs that are challenging social norms and helping one person at a time. Today it was the first place that I have to say goodbye to in Sarajevo. Not goodbye but until next time. The lessons that I have learned from this organization have had an incredible influence on me. It has informed my opinion of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It gifted me with the perspective of life in Sarajevo during the siege. But most importantly it showed me how mental health is treated and perceived in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has changed where I want my career to go.

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