I have now finished week number 2 of my internship (see post #1 for details) and things are admittedly slightly different than I thought they would be. The biggest challenge so far has, without a doubt, been the language barrier. While I thought this would be a difficult obstacle to overcome, I was not truly prepared for how tough this would be. Nowhere is this more evident than in trying to feel useful in this internship. Because of the language barrier, I am only meant to conduct interviews with those that speak English, understandably, but also understandable is that for some, even if they can speak English, telling their story in their native language is easier and better for them. I respect that completely and do not at all want to damper anyone’s ability to feel comfortable when saying what they need to, but sometimes it’s hard to feel useful when I can only gather data from a few people. However, a lighter note to this post, I have absolutely loved getting to hear the stories of those I am able to communicate with, and I am so grateful to everyone committed to fighting injustice here. It is truly beautiful to see. That is another way that this experience so far has been different from what I expected. While I was looking forward to speaking with people here and seeing how different (or similar) LGBTQ+ issues were here, I am often blown away by the people I speak to, another reason why I am so glad to be here.
On another good note, while the political climate here is….something else (I encourage everyone to read about it just a little bit because, wow) there are some truly beautiful buildings and places here. For example, I have a long walk to work (long being 20 minutes, don’t judge me), but I am surrounded by mountains on all sides. It’s truly incredible to see! I am looking forward to exploring so much more while I am here!
P.S While my featured picture is not something I see everyday, I really wanted to emphasize the beautiful parts of Macedonia.