SP2, '20 Hazel Shen

GRIP: Intern in Botswana

Program Abroad:

  • Global Research & Internship Program (GRIP): Stepping Stones International, Botswana

Ask me about...

  • Utilizing the resources at Penn to help you with the funding

  • The experience and feeling of working in a third country as an international student at Penn

  • Preparation for living in Africa for three months

  • Living in a homestay

My Experience Abroad:

I am an MSW student from SP2. As an international student who is coming from China, I am pretty used to living in another country, but working and living in Botswana is a whole new experience. 

I worked as a social work intern at Stepping Stones International (SSI) in Mochudi, Botswana. I helped to facilitate a program called "Leadership Program," which aims to help youths from 18-25 to become self-sufficient leaders in their communities. As an NGO developed 15 years ago, SSI also provides psychosocial support, life skills, human rights, and other services. If you are interested in social services and human rights issue, it could be a choice for you.

It is pretty interesting that I can find so many similarities between East Asian culture and African culture. In the past three months, I've thought more about my identity, my culture and my background than the last two years in the US. This experience did change my horizon, my mind, my career path, and my life. 

Other Highlights:

  • Living with a host family and sharing food & love

  • Getting to attend a wedding, funeral, bridal shower, and other activities

  • Tasting all kinds of local food

  • Traveling to some places in South Africa and Botswana
  • Taking public transportation (bus) to Kasane and bungee jumping in Victoria Falls

  • Seeing tons of giraffes, elephants, hippos in the game drives. We even saw 12 lions at one time!
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