Hello Everyone! My name is Alena, and I came from Belarus to Lebanon to be an intern in WYAME. When I just found out that I have got accepted in WYAME, I have told my parents and friends about this good news. When I told them that the internship is based in Beirut, Lebanon, the majority of people asked me where this country is situated, while others were wondering if this place is safe for me to spend my summer in. Definitely, when you look at the map and see this small country bordered with Syria on one side and Israel on the other, and hearing on the news about frequent bombs in Beirut, you will get a bit worried of your security. However, my Lebanese friends kept convincing me that their country is safe, touristic, beautiful and historic. I believed them, and explained to my parents that not everything portrayed in local media about Lebanon is right; and as a result West (Europe and USA) has a negative image about the country that can give so much to the World. My parents trusted me and let me go for the internship that exceeded my expectations.
Apparently, my friends were right, when they claimed that Lebanon is a beautiful country with its amazing nature, hospitable people and amazing nightlife. I just love driving here with the view of Lebanese mountains ahead of me, and sunset near sea on the side. Since Lebanon is a small country in area (only 10,452 km²), you can visit mountains, beach, and few historical places in just one day. In addition, Lebanon is known for its rich history, where many civilizations went through ancient cities as Byblos, Tyre and Sidon, and where Jesus has made His first miracle (turning water into wine) in Cana of Galilee (South Lebanon). Moreover, Lebanon is the home for the Cedars of the Lord, which were mentioned in the Holy Bible more than 75 times. Interestingly, Lebanon with the population of 4, 5 million (World Bank) has 18 recognized religious sects (Prados), which makes the country notably distinctive.
My experience as an intern in WYAME had been great so far. Managing projects, taking Track A training, answering the emails of curious members and having intern’s meetings were a great opportunity for me to improve my project-managing skills, communication skills, and learn about the ideas of influential thinkers about person’s freedom, human dignity, solidarity and human rights. The value of this experience is not only highly important for my graduate studies and future career, but for my daily life. I have learnt that every person has a human dignity, which is intrinsic and cannot be taken away. Human dignity is an objective value, and it is the basis of basic human rights. Thus, despite of differences in religion, nationality, race, values, age, gender, I shall treat “my neighbor” with dignity.
Furthermore, I have learnt that liberty can be different (positive and negative), where negative liberty is “freedom from interference in personal matters”, while positive liberty is freedom to (for) excellence” (Weigel). Today we hear a lot about freedom, but we do not think that it can be dangerous if we are allowed to do whatever we want.
I have to thank WYA for acquiring so much knowledge that I can implement in my daily life. If you have a chance to take an internship at WYA, you shall defiantly do it, and Beirut would be a good place to do it!
Written by Alena Kalodzitsa , a regional intern at the World Youth Alliance, Middle East.