Week 11: Internship – lilac academia

I have a feeling my blog posts from the last few weeks of this study abroad semester won’t be as interesting as some of the previous weeks where I was traveling or we had field trips as part of the program. But, I appreciate spending more time in this city before returning home last month. The adventure continues, even if I don’t move as much as before!

I think studying abroad, and especially in Serbia, was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. I’ve grown so much and I’m proud of who I’m becoming as I discover myself more and more. Coming abroad has pushed me in directions I didn’t expect, but it has also allowed me to grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Traveling is such an amazing experience, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to explore not only Serbia, but also many other wonderful countries in Europe.

monday november 14

Monday was my first real internship day. I arrived around noon and worked on an updated spreadsheet containing information on Balkan civil society organizations that have submitted reports to the United Nations. After work, I came home and watched TV before having dinner and going to bed.

tuesday november 15

On Tuesday I went back to work and finished the spreadsheet I was working on. I then started my next big assignment, which I will be working on for the duration of my internship: a research paper on human rights institutions across Europe. Basically, I dwell on it a bit every day, and expect it to be over 50 pages by the time I’m done. I’m thrilled to see a massive document of a month of hard work at the end of this internship!

After work, I had a FaceTime with another potential roommate from LA named Corrine. She’s super friendly and a junior cognitive science student, and we got along great on our FaceTime. Hoping things work out!

Wednesday November 16

On Wednesday, I woke up a bit earlier and went to SIT for the first brainstorming session of the internship. It was me, Izzy and Austin there with Aleks, who is the intern coordinator. It was a very informal and relaxed session, where we talked about what we had accomplished and learned during our first week on the job.

After the brainstorming, Izzy and I went to grab some juice at a cute cafe before we both went to work. It was really nice to chat with her; I feel like we’ve grown closer over the past week, and I’m really happy about that. She’s just super nice and insightful about so many things. Definitely someone I would ask for advice.

Then I returned to the office and, as I do every day, worked on my research paper. When I arrived at the office, I had a little chat with my mentor Nadja, and I feel like I’m getting to know her. She’s super nice and very interesting – she’s traveled all over the world and is obviously very smart (she’s a lawyer and speaks several languages) and I feel really lucky to be able to chat with her and pick her brains over the next month .

Thursday November 17

Thursday I woke up, got ready, and continued my tradition of stopping at a cafe in the morning for a cup of coffee before heading to work. I try to take advantage of the fact that, although it’s cool, it’s been beautifully sunny for most of this week, and that gives me the chance to walk around the city.

Having a morning walk everyday as one of the first things I do has been so positive for me. I grab my cup of coffee, put on my headphones, and enjoy watching the colorful leaves and people walking around the city. I don’t know who first told me this, but I think it’s true: the way to fall in love with a city is to walk around it. Although I still take the bus or tram a good deal of the time (especially now that it gets dark before 5pm), my morning walk made me appreciate Belgrade even more.

After coming into work, I did some remedial work for about the first hour before continuing to work on my research paper for my internship. In fact, I find the subject quite interesting, which is good, because it motivates me. I like to think critically about other countries’ human rights strategies – it’s really amazing to see the institutions in place in much of Europe to protect human rights, economic and social.

After work, the group decided to hang out because Izzy is going to a week-long conference on Friday for her internship about an hour away, so we all wanted to catch up before she left. We went to Zappa Bar, and it happened to be karaoke on Thursday, so you can guess how much I loved it 🙂 I did “Mamma Mia”, “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse and “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, and it was a lot of fun!

Selfies in the bathroom 🙂

Then some of the girls were hungry so we went to this fast food place called Chicken Box, got some chicken nuggets and fries, and walked to Kalamegdan, which is Belgrade’s fortress and park, for the to eat. One of the first nights we were in Belgrade, I came here with Lauren and Emily to just explore, and it was actually quite nice to come back. It really hit me that we were a month away from going home, and for the first time I felt a little sad about it. Like any change, it’s going to be bittersweet to leave this country and this city that I’ve called home for nearly three months.

Austin, Izzy, Lauren and Emily with the Chicken Box

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