I have chosen to take a little different approach to this assignment. The traditional approach would have been a discussion of my involvement in local organizations and the mates (friends) I have made through my involvement. However, I have chosen to take a different approach. My post will thus include a two part discussion. One of the discussions will be of my attendance to organisation meetings. The second will be of my creation of lasting friendships while here in London.
Through my internship at Handicap International I have had the opportunity to network with a number of organizations. At these meetings the same organizations have been present as members.
The first presentation was by Sense international. The organisation tries to bring expertise on deaf blindness to countries to strengthen programs. The challenge found was the social stigma families feel about going to the authorities about abuse of deaf blind children. The organisation is creating interventions, social protections for children in place through understanding of deaf blindness and community support. The second presentation was by Plan international, which has work based on child rights ( based on convention on the rights of the child).
While my professional development is interesting, the point of me joining an organisation is to make friends here in Britain that I will be able to stay close with after my return to the United States. By far the person I have grown closest to is my dear friend Sarah Curtis who is a first year student at London South Bank Uni. We met on the first day of lecture when she sat down to the American (I clearly looked like it at the time) sitting in the middle of the front row of the lecture theatre.
We soon began talking; she was interested to hear what I thought of the U.K. I also, having a couple years of higher education experience under my belt shared some of my accumulated knowledge about how to exceed in this new educational environment with her.
I think I was drawn to Sarah first because she reminds me of one of my best friends and sorority sisters at home in Iowa. With the same spunky personality, blonde hair, and glasses these two women are almost identical to one another except for the fact they are separated from an ocean and have only met through stories I tell one of the other. I think this says a lot about the kinds of people I find myself socializing with that out of all of the students in my lecture I chose the one most similar to my friends in the states to connect with.
In conversation with Sarah about this assignemnt, she was delighted to be a part of it. She explained, “i thought annika was very interesting person and it was amazing to meet someone from different background and country to me.” Then went on to say, “i have gained confidence from annika. And she was a life saver to me during my hard period during my life. I hope we become friends for life as she means alot to me and doesn’t feel right that she be on the other side of the world again very soon which i really don’t want her to go.” She concluded our conversation by explaining, “She opened my eyes to people in US as i have heard of some very bad things that happened over there but rarely hear about good so she has shown me the good aspects to US. I never wanted to study aboard but after meeting annika that has all changed and i am reconsidering that opinion.” Going into life as a student in London I had no expectation of gaining the amount and quality of experiences I have, and I am beyond proud to have a friend like Sarah by my side through this journey. I hope to be able to return her hospitality if she decides to study in the United States.
Excuse me while I go write a sappy thank you letter to lots of different people for the impact they have had on me this semester.