Making it Big in Matka: Week #5

I am officially through the first month of my internship! It’s a little bit wild to think about all the great things that have happened so far in just a month (plus a few days) of being here. While it’s all been a huge learning experience so far, it has been more difficult than I thought to do this alone. I was supposed to have a roommate come a few weeks in, but she ended up cancelling, so it has been just me in the city so far. Learning how to live in a foreign city alone was challenging at first, especially with the language barrier, but now it isn’t too bad. My local grocery store knows me, and I know my way around the city, so things have been on the up. Additionally, another intern from Michigan arrived this week, so it has been nice to have someone to do stuff with on the weekends and after work some nights.

This weekend, the two of us went on a hike up Matka canyon, a very lush and almost surreal must-see just about 40 minutes away. Skopje has felt more and more…. beige, for a lack of a better word, each week, so seeing something so green and clean was refreshing. Unfortunately, Skopje is a very polluted city with not much color, but it makes side trips like this so much more worth it.

Although Matka is a pretty touristy spot (we met people from all around the world there), it’s hard to deny how beautiful it is.


So much green and foliage you can hardly see me celebrating getting back into nature.

Besides celebrating my own month at my internship, the office is also celebrating another fun event: moving day! After signing a lease just a few weeks ago, my office is officially moving to a much larger and nicer apartment this weekend (sidenote: most NGO offices are just run out of apartments, which was interesting to see at first). This is especially exciting because, with all of the new space we are gaining, we are also trying to make a bigger push to get our name out there. The goal is to have more people in the office so that we can continue to research and make progress on our projects.

Views from the new office (might be hard to work if my desk is facing the window and I get distracted looking at all the tiled roofs).

Even with all of this moving, there is still a lot to get done. I am making more headway each day on my research, but I am worried about undertaking such a large project. Massive scale research is not something I have done before, and I know that my office is depending on a good report from me. Luckily, they have been very helpful in directing me towards people and resources I should utilize. Updates to come on the success of this project!

The next few weeks will be filled with so much travelling and work that, before I know it, the internship will be halfway done. No complaints though!

Skopje Fortress (also called “Kale”, which is Turkish for “fortress”) gives the best overlook of the city. Parts of it are over 1,000 years old, although some of it had to be restored and rebuilt after the 1963 earthquake.

One thought on “Making it Big in Matka: Week #5

  • July 5, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that things continue to go well for you! I love that you are making the most of your time abroad and are getting out and seeing some new places; you won’t regret that later! I also find it fascinating that so many organizations are run out of apartments. I really hope that the new apartment that your organization is working in is nice and that it’s comfortable for work. I’d love to see some photos of where you work, if you’re allowed to take them.


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