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Internship Week 1 & Week 2
It's been a long time since I wrote something in my blog. I don't know how I do it but it's always full of negativity. Anyway, I want to revive it so I'll start writing about my experience in the internship I'll be doing till May. Before I start writing down the things I did and learned, I have to make something clear. My school requires practice in a public organization before one gets the diploma so there is a list of all the organizations offering positions for students and pay them. Each student chooses three positions in different organizations and then there is a lottery. Which is one of the most unfair procedures they could think because
A)some students haven't passed 10-20 classes so they won't be getting a diploma in their 4th bachelor degree year anyway,
B)a student with much lower grades can go to a more prestigious position (and don't tell me this is about equality, i earned my grades, they could have done the same),
C)a student with an orientation -let's say clinics- can choose positions in organizations which require different skills and knowledge -let's say cognitive/experimental-,

My first choice was the only position that matched my orientation and it asked for two students. Out of five people who applied for this position, a guy I knew and had the same orientation as me got it and another girl I've never heard about. Later, my friend told me that this girl's orientation was clinical psychology and she had no idea how to do a neuropsychological assessment and didn't know anything about the brain, she just chose this position because it was a hospital. When I say that I hate my classmates, I mean it with all my heart.

So I ended up in a position in the administrative district, which is close to my home (part of the reason I chose it). It's a service with social counselors and social workers. Something completely unrelated with everything I've ever learned in this school. The things I do for money! They asked for three students and besides me there is a guy -I don't even want to start talking about him- and another girl from Cyprus -like do i deserve this punishment-.

The first week I met everyone in the office and they were all very nice and excited. There are two psychologists and the rest are social workers. I was happy to see that there are many women, I work better with them. They explained to us their duties and told us what we'll do every week. I didn't need more time to realize that I'm going to suffer for the next months but now I see it with a different point of view. Basically by doing this internship I'm confirming that everything but neuropsychology/geropsychology/biological/cognitive/experimental psychology is not for me and my character can't fit in their norms. Research and brain for the win!

Anyway, the internship has two parts. The first part is working as a social counselor, which means that you check every NGO and how they work, if there are any problems and you let the Ministry and the NGO know, so the first can cut off money and the second can try becoming better and fixing the problems. The second part is working directly in the NGOs so you can learn their job from the inside. Usually the first day of the week we do sudden checks to the NGOs and the rest days we work in the NGOs. Also the office is responsible for the adoptions of all northern Greece and while the social workers explained the procedure I don't know if they'll let us get involved.

The second week I couldn't go to the office on Monday so I skipped the first part and went straight to the second. They sent us to an NGO that takes care of people with special needs. In the mornings they have classes about basic care, drawing/creating art, gym, kitchen classes, lessons about social situations and health practices for adults. In the evenings they have classes for kids which go to special needs' schools in the morning. It's exactly like a school, they have classes and schedules. They are also divided in classes based on their IQ scores and their social skills. There are people with Down syndrome, autism and one with schizophreneia but still there are differences in their corresponding that's why they are divided. In the three days I was there, I met over 50 kids -we call them kids even tho their ages are from 20 to 50- and it was a first-time experience for me. I never had any classes about kids with special needs so I didn't know anything about them. But the teachers and psychologists there were very supportive and they told us to follow their lead. First, we went to all the places of the NGO, there were four different buildings but in close streets. Then, they assigned to each a place and a class. The first class I attended was about psychological support. There were three girls, the psychologist and me. Two of the girls were open and social but one was bothered by my presence. After talking to the psychologist she agreed on me joining them but every time she was asked about her problem she wasn't replying because I was there. Anyway, we started a convo and all the girls participated and after a short time she talked about her problem. I was surprised that her problem was so simple, yet it had an impact on her, she was disturbed by a behavior and she felt awful. I won't talk about all the classes, this one was the first that's why I mentioned it briefly.

Generally, I was surprised by the intimacy the kids showed and their effusive behavior. They wanted to hug us or touch us and while I didn't like it at first, I felt like someone surpassed my boundaries, I got used to it by the end of the week. They intend no harm and they genuinely want to express their feelings this way. There was staring and weird behaviors by the boys but I got used to them too. Some kids weren't easy to communicate with and needed to get asked more simple questions, while others talked about the news, even the situation with the plane in Malaysia. Like all schools, they had cliques and love interests. Some of the kids were training for the paraolympics. A guy told me that he trains to go to Rio so I'll have a reason to watch it in the next years. The girls mainly kept asking if we'd come the next week and they were sad when we told them that we'll probably come after a month or so.

I enjoyed the last day the most because we all went for a walk in the port and the weather was great. They were so excited being out and meeting people. Overall it was a positive experience.

I'll try updating the blog every week. Next week we'll go to a nursing home.

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This was really interesting! I like how you explained things in such a clear and organized manner. I'll be happy if you manage to keep updating about your internship (and anything else, of course). Good luck with the next week!

I'm glad you found it interesting! I'll try updating because my memory sucks and I'm sure that next year I won't remember anything so I can go back and read the entries. Thank you!

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