Intern Alex Ozkan and the NPH Leadership Institute

Hello!

For those of you who don’t know me or what I do, my name is Alex Ozkan and I am one of the two NPHI Leadership Institute Interns this year from Seattle University. I have been working with the Leadership Institute since September, and am grateful to have such a fantastic internship. I serve as a cultural partner and English tutor for the four students in the program this year as well as provide some administrative support for the Leadership Institute. Coming in, I expected my role as an intern to be a typical intern role: office work, errands, etc. However, after attending the opening mass early in the year, it became quite clear that this internship would be something different. I was greeted with home-cooked food (a rarity for a college student) and a friendly environment. I remember being in awe after returning to campus the hospitality I experienced and the number of people who truly wanted to help and support the four students in the program this year. From that point on, I realized that I was going to be welcomed into the NPH family whether I expected to or not.

From my perspective as an English tutor and cultural partner, I have seen growth and personal development in the students. From an academic perspective, the students continue to improve and make progress in the difficult language that English is. They impress every one of my friends they meet with their comprehension and conversational skills that they have developed in the past six months. Additionally, I continue to be inspired by the students’ commitment to making the world a better place and desire to help their respective homes. They express their gratitude for everything they have been given liberally and truly strive to be good servant leaders.

As for me, I have learned and grown through the experience I am getting by working for the Leadership Institute. I am learning what the culture is like in a nonprofit organization and am seeing the difficulties that come with running one—particularly with such a young organization like the Leadership Institute. I am gaining cultural awareness by working with the students and am learning the difficulties that come with working in a cross-cultural context. Surprisingly enough, I am also learning more than I expected about English, particularly some of the grammar and mechanics. This experience has also reaffirmed my desire to serve internationally at some point in my life.

The past 6 months of working with the students and the Leadership Institute have been fantastic and I look forward to interning with such a great organization through June!
Peace,
Alex Ozkan
Seattle University ’15

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Homesickness

Jacinto writes about missing his family, friends, and home:

Never in my life have I lived in another country until this opportunity. At first, I thought living in another country was the best. I thought I would have new opportunities, new friends and new things. I am in another country now and have the things I imagined, but I forgot something important: homesickness.

I have been living for five months in the United States and have learned a lot of things like English, a little bit more about leadership and other things. I have learned how to live alone. This part is so hard for me, because in NPH I have always lived with lots of people and had people around me. Sometimes here I stay at home alone and it makes me sad and I don’t know what to do.

Also, I have been in so many places. Seattle is a wonderful city. It has huge buildings, lots of trees and is a clean city. However, there is one thing that I don’t like: rain. It rains all the time and when it’s sunny is a miracle for me. I am studying English and I love the college. There are a lot of people from different parts of the world. Most of them are from Asia. It is so interesting to talk with them and learn about new cultures and learn words in different languages.

I am living with a host family, they have been my godparents for a few years and of course, they are a wonderful family. I have my own bedroom, desk, food and so many distractions like games, but even if I have a lot of things I still miss my family, NPH. It doesn’t matter how much I have, I still miss my friends because I have grown with them. They are my family, they are my life and they are everything for me. The first thing I remember when I am sad is them. Presently, I am so excited about going back to Guatemala and seeing my family again because I miss the noise, the children, my country, everything.

For me, happiness is not the things I have. Happiness is my family, it is helping them, sharing with them and loving them.

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