Simons Self-Reflection

During this minor, I have noticed that I've developed myself a lot. I will now explain the whole process in this self-reflection of my internship in Lusaka, Zambia.
In these three months in Zambia, I learned a lot, not only about the project, but also primarily on a personal level.

I'll start with the lesson which I have learned the most during this experience: I realize now how extremely lucky I am to grow up in the Netherlands, to have the chance to go to the University and to have access to all the basic needs. This is so different in comparison to Zambia. A lot of people who I’ve met in Zambia don’t have this privilege. This has made me very aware of how lucky I am.

On a personal level, I have learned to develop myself in a foreign country with a totally different culture. This was difficult in the beginning to get used to this. You are completely on your own, dependent on other. Fortunately, I was in accompany with two fellow students, so we could help each other. The cultural dimensions, we learned before we went on our internship, suited well with my experience.

In the beginning, I really had to get used to the time in Zambia was. It was normal to arrive two hours later then appointed. It was also possible to shift the appointment some days later, just before the appointment. I got used to it, however I was trying to make clear agreements about times, in the hope that it would make sense.

From the beginning, I tried to integrate myself in this different culture. By starting chatting to a lot of people and to catch up with the people of the organization. I learned the differences with this culture and made some new friends. I experienced to open myself and ask questions, this makes this process a lot more easy. I didn’t expect before this stay that I would behave like this. A lot of people notice you on the streets and stare to you, they want to chat with you. I did not always feel like in here. Nevertheless, I learned always to respond positively and interested.

Before I visited Zambia, I had some thoughts about my expectations of Africa. Now I experienced Africa in real life. I experienced Africa as a country with a bad infrastructure and a low standard of living. However, I was impressed how positive the people are and I saw how important this is.
For the part of the project, it was also important to understand the culture. My personal development as described, played also an important role in the project. It makes the communication easier with the people of PPHPZ. I also experienced the way of working in an African company.

There are some parts that I found out that are totally different than in The Netherlands.
Unfortunately we started the project with a setback, because we couldn`t carry out the research how we had thought of it before. After this setback, I learned that it is important to take initiative. And by coming up with ideas and take action you come the furthest with your project.
I found it interesting to find out how the building process is in a developing country. The poor people build houses by themselves by purchasing construction materials along the way, without any contracts and calculations. I found this interesting because it's so different than in the Netherlands.

Over all, I see these three months as a dire educational experience, which has also made me very aware our blessed situation in The Netherlands. I will benefit from this experience my entire life!