Student shares an Internship/Practicum Experience in Jamaica
I found this article to be very accurate as it portrayed cultural differences, especially for individuals in the teaching or helping professions.
I have participated in several volunteer organization since living in Kingston, but my second gigg, was a true learning experience for me.
I attempted to do a six month volunteer position with a local crisis center, and was initially very excited about this role. Week one however was a rude awakening, when I arrived on day two, to realize that I would be opening and closing the center and had staff reporting to me, “The Volunteer“. Surprise Surprise!!!!!!
I fully realized my position when two policewomen brought in a pregnant teenager around 2pm on day four, and asked who was in charge. All eyes turned to me, “The Volunteer” foreigner, who could not even understand what the the cops had been asking. I then spent the next three hours trying frantically to find a place of safety for this young woman to spend the night. It was not an easy task, mainly due to my lack of knowledge about what existed in Kingston at the time.
I then concluded that my not understanding enough patois was a limitation to be effective in my role, but there was hope for me in the future with guidance. Two years later and I am all smiles, as I now understand patois a lot better.