My First Orientation Week with FSD La Plata

30 05 2010

Whew! What an exhausting week it has been. Last Saturday, we received a new batch of interns and we have been busy with orientation since. The group consists of five young ladies from the US, all between the ages of 19-25. They study/studied everything from neuroscience to accounting to global studies. They will all be in La Plata for nine weeks. In many ways, this group is fairly representative of the average group of interns that FSD hosts; however, we also receive mid-career professionals, interns from other countries and, of course, young men. Additionally, many interns, myself included, stay for much longer periods of time. Because it is the summer in the US, however, many interns come for only 9-12 weeks.

Orientation started with airport pickup on Saturday and ended Friday afternoon. It included workshops on topics such as safety and security, international and sustainable development, local culture, living with a host family, working with a host organization and fundraising and advocacy. There were also activities to help them get acquainted with their new home including a session on castellano (Argentine Spanish), a city tour and a scavenger hunt. We watched a really moving film called La Noche de los Lapices (Night of the Pencils) about a group of secondary students from La Plata that “disappeared” during the military dictatorship. One of the highlights of the week was a host family dinner we had, where all of the host families came to the office and ate dinner with the interns and staff. It was a great way to ensure that the interns could meet and interact with their families in a more comfortable group setting before moving in with them. Finally, we did visits to partner organizations. As a group, we visited Siluva, a center for adults with developmental disabilities in Villa Elisa. Then on Thursday, one staff member accompanied each intern to their host organization to meet their supervisor for the first time.

All in all, I really enjoyed orientation week. I was essentially a participant this time since I am still getting accustomed to the location, the language and the policies of the organization. In a few weeks, however, another group will arrive, and for that orientation I will be fully involved, leading workshops, arranging logistics, etc.

Monday is my last day of training since Nancy, the current PC, finishes on Monday and flies out on Thursday. While I will be sad to see her go, I’m ready to really dig in. I’m feeling really great about moving down here for this job. Maria and Fabian are wonderful, the new interns seem really bright and enthusiastic, and the work is exactly what I want to be doing right now.

Katie

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2 responses

30 05 2010
devon

I am so glad this is what you want to be doing right now!! so proud…

30 05 2010
Barbara Muller

Your job sounds exciting! There is so much to experience and learn……..It will be with you for a long time. A great and wonderful experience that will translate into many other oportunities later in life. I am pleased that you are ready to dig in and that you are really liking the people and the work.

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