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    Traveling Is the Things I Have to Learn About Myself

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    I started traveling when I was 15 years old, and ever since it became my purpose to visit a new country every year. In that time, I used to think it was because I wanted to learn about how people lived in other latitudes, now I am convinced that traveling is more about the things I have to learn about myself. I jumped up and down to celebrate when I found out Pr. Metz accepted me to this course. An international internship doing fieldwork is an idea that fills me with excitement. But it is just now, that I started writing this journal, that I have realized the lessons that might be waiting for me in the field. I am a privileged person in Colombia and the fieldwork I did in my previous work experiences were crossed by that privilege. By this, I mean that after a week of work, I would return to my home in the city, full of comfort and emotional support, while the people in the communities remained in their isolated territories.

    During this summer I will not have the privilege to disconnect from my work after a week or even during weekends, the people I will work with, will become my emotional support and that is something new. I used to be detached from my family, besides traveling I have moved in and out of Colombia a few times, with little distress. However, when I moved to NYC, I realized how emotionally attached I have become to my partner. We are lucky to be just two hours away now, but three months is the longest time we will have been apart during the five years we have been together. To add to that emotional challenge, I will spend my 30th birthday during this internship. An advantage I had working in the field in Colombia, was the proximity to the people that helped to develop rapidly a relation of trust and confidence. That we shared the same nationality, that we spoke the same language, that we shared the experiences of our internal conflict facilitates the sense of empathy.

    The main personal motivation to take this course and engage in a peace-building project, is to push the frontiers of my skills acquisition. I want to communicate effectively beyond cultural barriers, built trust relations, be persuasive to engage community members in social work, learn to ask the right questions, respect diversity and remember my own limitations while remaining open to learning. I acknowledge that my identity is problematic in some contexts; I am a woman; I am Latina; I am a small person and I look much younger than I really am. Colleagues and community members I have always respected me in the field and have encountered no obstacles to do my job, but considering an unknown setting, this is a concern.

    On the professional aspect, I expect to take from this class a theoretical framework for peace-building interventions and a critical perspective of how that framework might result when applied in reality. By getting into an environment of conflict, I expect to develop more complex narratives about the people who live affected by it; I expect to test myself and gather enough information to help me reduce my biases and stereotypes while expanding my notions of identity. One aspect of the conflict I have worked in so far is the reincorporation of ex-combatants into civil life, if I gain this experience during the summer, it would be an added value, considering that in Colombia, this aspect of conflict remains uncertain and is potentially dangerous.

    Another key aspect of my expectations for this summer is the team of professionals I will work with and the relation I will develop with them. My aim is to gather enough information during the semester to prepare to give the best of my abilities to the team. I have excellent communication skills; I have experience in community dialogue and pedagogy; I have experience identifying the gendered impact of conflict and in developing a gender-sensitive approach to social projects; I am fluent in three languages (Spanish, English, and French), I consider myself adaptable and a quick learner. Moreover, I have been expanding my skill set ever since I came to SIPA and I expect to test my quantitative and project management skills. I consider this project an opportunity for professional growth, I believe I will acquire competency but most important of all confidence and credibility.

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    Traveling Is the Things I Have to Learn About Myself. (2022, Nov 29). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/traveling-is-the-things-i-have-to-learn-about-myself/

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