It’s certainly not easy packing all your belongings and going to a foreign country for 3 months. Although it is nerve-wracking, it is very exciting at the same time. I can’t believe two weeks in Amman, Jordan have already flown by!
I am working with CARE Jordan, which is part of CARE International. The organization has roots back to 1945, when 22 American organizations came together to rush lifesaving CARE Packages to survivors of World War II. Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, took part in this effort. Now, in 2015, CARE works in 95 countries around the world to support over 890 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects.
I have the exciting opportunity to work with Sawsan Sa’adah, the Program Manager at CARE. I am currently working on a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document for CARE Jordan’s Psychosocial Program, which is a document about 100 pages long outlining standards, frameworks, methods, and specific procedures that the program must adhere to. It becomes a standard for any new volunteer or employee to follow, and is also providing me with immense knowledge on how everything works at CARE. I was psyched about this (pun intended) because of my background in Psychology (HBSc at UofT) and for getting the chance to work with Syrian refugees!
Well, on my first day, I arrived at the wrong CARE building because Google Maps showed the location of the regional office. I freaked out because I rented a place close to that building and the security guard told me that the main office is downtown! Luckily, he was wrong. The new building was only a few minutes away. Phew! Next, I met with my supervisor who was very welcoming, offered me tea, and introduced me to the work she is doing at CARE. I got a chance to visit the other CARE centre as well, where Syrian refugees attend various psychosocial activities, peer support groups, etc. It was wonderful to start off with first-hand field experience on the work CARE does and I got straight to working on the SOP on the second day. Within 2 weeks, I am already done the first draft of the SOP.
It doesn’t end here though. It requires a lot of editing, meetings, changes, and more field visits to better depict the work done through the Psychosocial Program. Also, CARE has asked me to train the Community Development Officers and volunteers in interviewing skills, communication skills, reporting skills, etc. At first it seemed overwhelming, but I am hoping to make this a learning experience for myself, and teach a 16 hour course to them. I always wanted to become a teacher when I was younger.
Basically, for any internship, I have learned that you have to be open to doing research, being independent and self-motivated, and not be afraid of a steep learning curve. I have never worked on an SOP before, but looking at previous SOPs and discussing details with people involved in the program helped me in completing my first draft. I made sure to read a lot and ask a lot of questions.
As for Amman, Jordan- it is a beautiful city, full of wonderful people, good food, lots of shopping, and of course, crazy traffic. Thankfully, I take the taxi or walk everywhere so I get to sit back and watch in awe. They don’t believe much in traffic lights, but rather traffic “circles” in which those who are more aggressive get out the fastest!
My apartment is close to everything I need, so I love living here. It was an adjustment at first, but that is the fun of traveling! Thankfully, I even have my husband here with me, so it makes life a lot easier. The first weekend here was a long weekend for Easter, so we even got a chance to travel around Jordan. We took a 4 day trip around the Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum, and Aqaba. All of the sites were unique and absolutely breathtaking. I would highly recommend a visit. Here are some pictures:
So far, being in Amman, Jordan for my summer internship has been fun and a learning experience. I am super excited for what is to come! Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed.
Zoya Khan is a part of Cohort 4 of the Master’s of Development Practice program at the University of Waterloo. Zoya’s background is in psychology, religion, and linguistics. Her current research interests include global health, mental health, women’s empowerment, gender equality, human rights, community development and outreach, poverty reduction, food security, and sustainable development.