Why I’m Here | Week 1 in Skopje

Zdravo! Welcome to my journey living and working in Skopje, Macedonia for the next couple months 🙂

I’ve chosen to work with an organization called Subversive Front which aims to assess the physical and mental needs of the LGBT+ community, and then works to fulfill those needs. LGBT+ issues are scarcely discussed in Macedonia, let alone worked on. LGBT+ individuals in Macedonia face a number of issues, such as violence, ostracization from society, unequal work opportunities, blatant and subtle prejudice and more which all culminate to diminish their mental health. I was drawn to this internship not only because of my interest in healthcare, but also because of my passion for all people to have equal healthcare opportunities. I’ll be helping the SF team research these issues, publish reports regarding findings, and host workshops to provide various groups with education or psychosocial support.

Although my future career of choice is directly providing patients with services to monitor and improve their health, I believe that the road to optimal care is paved by social activism, education, and public policy. Marginalized and stigmatized populations are often neglected proper resources and information related to their health, if granted access to healthcare at all. This is indeed the case in Macedonia — there is immense work to be done in getting LGBT+ people access to proper healthcare as well as achieving institutional equity. But, the good news is that a few NGOs in Skopje, like Subversive Front, have begun this mission!

Beyond the social issues, Skopje is an amazing and beautiful city that I feel lucky to live in! Among its historic streets are elaborate statues, beautiful museums, abundant cafes, and far too many (adorable) stray kitties. In my first few days, I’ve already begun to learn about the rich history and culture of the city, but I’ll save more of that for next time. 🙂

   

One thought on “Why I’m Here | Week 1 in Skopje

  • July 2, 2018 at 12:14 pm
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    Halle,

    My name is Josh Lee, and I’ll be one of the staff members from the Opportunity Hub that will be reading and commenting on your blog. Thanks for this initial post! Your pictures are stunning (You should consider them submitting them for the LSA Opportunity Hub Photo Contest!)

    I loved reading about the alignment that you’ve drawn between your area of study and an issue that you are really passionate about. I’m excited to read about some of the cultural dissonance that you will experience, and what sort of learning you’ll glean from these moments (It sounds like you’re prepared for this to happen as well!) Do you foresee having to navigate conversations around the LGBT+ community differently in Macedonia than you would here in Ann Arbor or the US in general? I’m also really intrigued to see if you notice any big differences in work culture in Macedonia as compared to States.

    I hope you have a fulfilling and exciting experience. I look forward to reading your posts. Best of luck!

    -Josh

    Reply

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