Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program for various reasons. When deciding where I wanted to travel, I wanted to find a place that could feel like home. Yes, going out of your comfort zone can be a good thing, but I wanted to live somewhere where I felt like I could be myself. Manchester was that place for me.
Another reason for choosing this program was that I felt like it was the perfect mixture of independent traveling and organized by the provider. Being able to have real-life experience in the field of my choosing was the best scenario that I could have asked for.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Like I said before, the way that this program was set up was the most ideal situation for me. It was very personalized to me and I got exactly the experience that I set out to get.
My university assisted me at the beginning and helped me understand what the future steps were going to be. From there, CRCC Asia contacted me and asked questions about the type of internship I wanted during my stay in Manchester. Once that was out of the way, they set up interviews with various nonprofit organizations for me and I got to decide where I wanted to work. The whole process really couldn't have been easier.
From there, things were fairly independent. I had to mail some paperwork, get a work visa myself and set up flights. At the end of the day, I felt like the balance was good between the both of us.
Knowing that I had CRCC Asia in my corner really put me at ease.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Advice that I would give someone going on the program is:
1. Take everything as it comes. In the beginning, before leaving, things are going to be stressful. Keep in the back of your mind that everything is going to work out and that the people at CRCC Asia or really any provider are there to help and support you. Even when you are settled in your flat with your roommates, your provider is there to make you as comfortable as they can. Knowing that I was their priority really set me at ease and allowed me to enjoy my time.
2. Take time for yourself! This can be a huge transition for most people and getting adjusted can take a while. One thing that helped me was walking around the city and the area where my flat was. Finding a local pub, restaurant, or a coffee shop that felt comfortable and like a safe place really helped me ease my mind. Feeling comfortable and confident in your surroundings helps dramatically.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Your average day can look different than others and that is okay. For me, my day consisted of:
1. Walking to the train station and going to work.
2. Work and my lunch break of wandering the city of Stockport.
3. Returning from work and going to a local pub to unwind.
4. Returning to my flat and making dinner or going out with friends.
Each week was different. As CRCC Asia was able to set up some fun things for us to do, each weekend looked different. While the workdays where relatively the same, the weekends were the best time to wander around the city you are living in or surrounding cities.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear is that I either wouldn't like working at a nonprofit or that I would hate the city. I overcame these fears by really diving in headfirst. I wanted to learn everything that I could. While educating myself, I realized that at the end of the day, the only that that could stop me from having the best time that I can is myself. Having a good attitude about the experience changes everything.
What's your favorite memory?
There were so many amazing moments. One of my favorite shows is called "Love Island." It is a reality show where singles go into a villa to find love. One of my goals was to meet some past cast members; fortunately for me, I was able to complete that goal!
Another favorite memory was getting my tattoo. I fell in love with Manchester way more than I thought I would. That city is apart of me and a place that I hope to move to someday. A major symbol of Manchester is the worker bee. After the bombings at the Ariana Grande concert, this symbol took over the city and showcased work ethic and community. I loved it so much that I got a tattoo of it and I will cherish it forever.