What I liked
As an intern in the Congo field office, I lived in a house with several other Samaritan's Purse employees and a fellow intern. I believe this is different from most other international locations but it was a great fit for me and created a family-like atmosphere.
My internship supervisor actually lived in the same house as me, but I think she did a great job of being professional at work and being a friend to me at our house. We had a great working relationship and I still keep in touch with her. The people that lived in the house with me and worked at our office were all extremely intelligent and passionate about their work.
My coworkers at the office were a combination of local Congolese staff as well as American and Canadian staff. I loved my coworkers and they felt like family.
As most SP field offices don't have full-time communications managers, I was supervised by the program development officer who wrote grant proposals and oversaw monitoring and evaluation of our programs. Some of my tasks included helping her with grant proposal research, writing blog posts, creating Twitter posts, and going through impact stories of our programs written in French by our staff working in the field and working with other staff members to translate them into English. One of the ways we used these stories was in our grant proposals to talk about past program success. I also helped with various data entry and organization tasks. I learned so much in this internship about the way international relief organizations work (including the types of roles available in this setting), about Congolese culture and history, and about stepping into new cultures with humility. While I was there, my supervisor was in the process of starting up a new program and a staff member from SP’s Canadian office came to help with that. It was an amazing experience to join them in brainstorming sessions about how to best meet the needs of the people we were seeking to serve through those programs.
The Congo is primarily French-speaking (however there are many more languages and dialects specific to different regions) and I had taken some French in high school but was very rusty. Thankfully, my fellow intern and I were able to take French lessons (I believe once or twice a week) at the office with a local Congolese man who was the best teacher!
I was a little nervous going into this internship, but I felt SP took really good care of us and made me feel safe. As an international intern, it was nice to take part in an on-campus orientation in Boone and get to meet the other interns before going all over the world!