NOTE: Any reference to real facts or persons is purely coincidental.
You have learned about WYA, and now you want to become an intern at the Middle East regional office. If that’s you, below you can find the six types of interns you will find yourself working with, which of course is not based on my personal experience.
- The Lebanese from Lebanon.
First thing you have to know, the Lebanese is never from Lebanon only. She might start telling you about her origins, and half an hour later the topic might not have changed yet. If you get bored, do like me and secretly think about what to have for dinner tonight, but of course try to nod every few seconds so that you won’t reveal the trick.The Lebanese from Lebanon experienced osmosis with her phone, so now she depends on it and consequently freaksout once her battery dies. She is all a matter of extremes: one day you will find her at the beauty centre doing her nails and hair, the other she will be at a meeting with the hipster student movement she is part of.
*Tip: Hungry? She is always up for food.
- The Lebanese not from Lebanon.
She comes from an overseas country, she studies in Europe, but she has Lebanese origins.Therefore, she shares the complex background ofthe n.1 specie; on the other hand, the perspective in this case is reversed, as she never actually lived in Lebanon. Interestingly, however, she is provided with the same Lebanese characteristics already mentioned above—phone addiction, care for beauty, sociable attitude. She will take you to the best parties with her group of friends, and she will also introduce you to her family, who will treat you as their own.
*Tip: If you happen to have her as a roommate, feel lucky.
- The American.
Perhaps the most courageous of the group, she came all the way from the other side of the world to find herself. In a region where most of the people hate the United States, she daily deals with comments such as “Stupid Americans!”, to whom she replies with a polite, acquiescent smile. A resourceful and efficient colleague inside the office, a salsa lover outside it, she is a constant learner, always up for new experiences and discoveries.
*Tip: If you freak out when you read the news, use her subscription to the American Embassy mailing list to get the promptest updates regarding the situation in the country.
- The North African who moved to Lebanon.
Normally silent before 3-4pm as he is still tired from the last night out, he portrays himself as a very busy person. His circle of friends and his commitments all revolve around university. And beware, like any student you will ever meet in Lebanon, he will compulsively feel the need to provide you with evidence on why his university is better than the others, especially if you are a foreigner, so get used to revelations like “Our campus is the most beautiful of the Middle East, and we even have more cats in it than other campuses”.
*Tip: He knows what it means to be a newcomer, and thus he will prove to be the best guide during your first day in Beirut.
- The Middle Eastern who left the Middle East.
Born and raised in a Middle Eastern kingdom, this exemplar will suddenly fly away –or skydive—, ironically, to live in an European kingdom. If you don’t speak Arabic, he will save you from dealing alone with the challenges brought about by language limitations. And therefore, thanks to him you might end up socializing with a random taxi driver, who for this reason will eventually decide to join you two on your trip to the Jeita Grotto.
*Tip: Ask him to teach you those Arabic words you can’t find in official dictionaries.
- The European.
As a true ambassador of her region, once in Lebanon she will feel the necessity to spread her culture, no matter if people requested that or not. If she is Italian, this might become quite annoying: you will end up hearing the word pizza ten times per day, witness loud, Italian talking. She talks a lot, and she knows it, so get ready to wear earplugs at work, or headphones if you want to politely mask that.
*Tip: Ask her what she thinks of American pizza, and take a picture of her face reaction.