I leave for my internship tomorrow.
What is this??
It’s probably worth mentioning that my internship is in Albania, which is in Eastern Europe, which is a place that I have never visited in my life and I don’t know a single word in the language and I’m leaving tomorrow???
Suffice to say, I’m just a little nervous.
Nervous enough to start packing two nights before my flight, instead of the usual night-before/day-of frantic cramming. (What can I say; I’m a procrastinator). But it’s all good, because with this extra night of packing, I’ve managed to fit two months of stuff into just one suitcase with room leftover.
Two months in one of Eastern Europe’s beautiful, underrated (and thus under-touristed) gems will be an unforgettable adventure. I’m hoping this will be true — but I guess I won’t know until I get there, and two months later, when I’m back home. When people ask me, “Why Albania?” I answer, “I don’t know.” Because I didn’t choose Albania consciously; I just wanted an internship that interested me and would hopefully increase my chances of getting into vet school. I didn’t know about this internship until someone from the WCEE sent me the link, and I thought, why not? The organization that I’ll be working with, the National Coastal Agency of Albania, technically isn’t directly related to care of animals, but the mission of the NCA — to protect, preserve, and promote the coastlines of Albania — embodies conservation, and, by relation, ensures the welfare of animals. There’s this concept in conservation medicine called One Health: the well-being of humans, animals, and the environment are inherently linked. By taking care of Albania’s coastlines — any coastline, for that matter — we are protecting the health of the environment, the lives of the animals that live there, and, subsequently, the overall quality of life for humans. Conservation isn’t just specific to one species; instead, it concerns every organism that lives on our planet. And if you think that we can get away with not caring about what happens to our environment — well, it’ll be like a bad, post-apocalyptic dystopian novel where we, with our perfect 20/20 hindsight, sigh as we trudge forward through the ashy remains of our great civilization, “If only we had taken better care of our planet.” We’re not intentionally self-destructing; we just don’t care enough.
But long story short, I’m working with the NCA to embark on a journey to fulfill my dreams of grandeur of saving the planet. Less pretentiously put, I’ll be helping develop a trail somewhere in Albania by cataloguing the plants and wildlife in the area. It’s a small first step, but I guess you have to start from somewhere.
We’ll see how things go when I arrive in Albania — leaving tomorrow!