Wrapping Up the Summer

Blog post: Internship Overview

This summer I was placed at Wings of Hope, a mental health organization that began in the 90’s. I knew little about the organization prior to starting, except what I had read on their website, but didn’t know what to expect as an intern. I remember our director telling me that she thought I would fit in well, but that not everyone could withstand the kind of humor our supervisor at Wings of Hope had. Confused, I entered my initial meeting with my supervisor eager to figure out what she meant. I quickly realized the type of person that would not get along with or like my supervisor and I also realized that I was not that kind of person. Maja, our supervisor and the director at Wings of Hope, is full of energy, incredibly smart, and calls it as she sees it. In other words, she’s incredibly honest and open minded, not leaving room for people who arrive with preconceived notions about the world and how it should be. My fellow intern and I were adopted almost immediately by her, partially for our Balkan descent and partially because we reminded her of her. Maja not only gave us guidance for our work at Wings of Hope, but she gave us a different side of Bosnia that we couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. Because of her honesty, she spoke from the heart, taking responsibility for her actions/non-actions during the war (which no one is able to do) and showing us a less pretty and glorified side. Maja also taught us about how therapy is done in Bosnia, what the mental health system is like, and so many other parts of Bosnian culture we could not have dreamed of finding out. She also welcomed us into her home, giving us the opportunity to see what real life looks like living in Bosnia.

Maja wasn’t the only kind soul at Wings of Hope who opened her arms to us. Throughout the summer, we spoke with and worked alongside many other persons working for Wings of Hope, some part-time and some full-time. We met a woman who does psychodrama, a lawyer, many other interns from other countries, and a diverse number of others. I felt like each person I spoke with gave me another little piece of the Bosnian puzzle. I don’t think I was every ready to be welcomed so warmly into an environment, but every day we were met with smiles and questions. We would commune to drink coffee before starting work and some would tell us stories about Wings of Hope, some about their theoretical orientation, and some about Bosnia in general. They were always curious of our weekend travel, and us of theirs. We shared these stories at the beginning of the week, and finished the weeks by comparing weekend plans.

My fellow intern and I did a number of diverse projects for wings of hope, ranging from research, to 6-month report help, to program development. We ended the summer with two workshops on stress management and coping, one for teens and one for adults. We also were able to give part of the adult workshop to other interns that were working alongside Wings of Hope at the time. Although we did not get to do a full run through of either workshop, we still ended the summer proud of the work we accomplished and especially the friends and relationships we made.

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