What Vietnam has taught me. . .

I remember looking forward to placement and wondering about all the things I would see, do, explore, and experience. So far, it has been absolutely incredible; but then I was thinking about how I’m working so hard to make the most of the  time I have available to experience everything this city, country, and region has to offer and I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t do this in Canada.

Canada has a ton to offer and I still haven’t seen even a fraction of the things I hope to see there, there are many things to do and see in the areas I have lived in with little or no cost, but why wasn’t I focused on making the most of my time or experience? I guess because it feels normal. When you stay in the same country or area, you fall into a pattern or routine, you do normal things, you have habits. You feel as though there is no rush because you have a lifetime to experience what you want and do all those things you never got around to yet.

This realization is giving me something to work towards. I will not wait for experiences like this placement to live my life to the fullest, I will live my life to the fullest every single day in every single town, city, country that I am fortunate enough to live in. I will experience things to the fullest and make the most of the time I have. If I’m willing to spend hours walking around Ha Noi because its beautiful, why didn’t I do that in Canada? I guess I got stuck in the routine of ‘home’ and found what boundaries I was comfortable with.

No more! Vietnam has taught me to experience things, explore, try something new and avoid routine and that is something I hope to never forget.

Originally posted here.

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For third year INDEV students

Hello third years, 

I know you have to get your applications for placements in very soon and I know how stressful that is. It’s very nerve-wracking to essentially be applying for a job that you have no job description for, that may or may not have a website, and that you may or may not have experience in. Apply for the job you want the most, in a country that you think you can live in for 8 months, everything else will work out. 
There may not be enough work, there might be too much work, there may or may not be field visits, but it will be a rewarding experience regardless of any of that. 

If anyone is interested in the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development you can check out my summary of their work here, their website here, or you can e-mail me and I’ll send you a copy of my midterm report. SRD currently has two INDEV students based in their Ha Noi office, but they have had an INDEV student in their Hue office as well. They are growing exponentially and have several brand new projects starting for next year that are not yet on the website. So if you want to learn anything about this, want to ask questions, vent about the process, or see my midterm report just comment here, e-mail me, or message me on facebook and I will help you out.

Good luck!

How do the real local champions tolerate us?

“How do the real local champions tolerate us, international ‘experts’ who rotate in and out of their countries and keep showing up – different faces, same stupid questions – like a bad penny? What do we mean when we talk about supporting local actors? And are we really ready to relinquish control, face our shortcomings and humbly listen?”

Marianne Elliott

What’s the point?

What’s the point of development if you aren’t willing to shake up the status quo?

What’s the point of learning if you never figure out your message?

What’s the point of teaching us to question things if you’re afraid to get questioned?

What’s the point of speaking if you never learn to listen?