I think my expectations about this internship experience remained pretty flexible. I guess I wasn't really sure what to expect. I thought that I would meet some really interesting people. I thought that I was going to get my hands dirty and actually do some farming. I thought that I was going to have a really hard time trying to communicate with people.
My expectations were positively met. I'm pretty happy with the experience. I did meet some really interesting people. There were several with happy-go-lucky personalities. There were several that reminded me of my parents. I was surprised that many people did speak some level of English even if it was only a little. I'm okay with the fact that I didn't actually get to do any farming. I visited so many farms that phase 1 was purely observational. I met so many farmers that phase 2 was focused on gathering specific data. So i didn't actually get to sit down and really get to know farmers on a personal level. They were all very accommodating in answering my questions for the study. But there wasn't much time to do more than that because I really wanted to interview as many farmers as possible. We really worked hard at getting to 40 respondents!
By the end of my internship experience in the Philippines, I was surprised at how connected I felt to my heritage. I don't think I was expecting that. I see myself as pretty Americanized since I've lived here my whole life except for the first three years after I was born. For most of my life, I had no interest in visiting this country. I imagined it as a very hot and humid place where mosquitoes ravenously attacked. However, after the internship, I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed being here and how much I want to invest into helping people here. I happened to be here during an ideal weather period that had wonderful cool breezes. This is between the really hot season and the rainy season. So the timing was great.
But overall, I learned a lot about the farmer's lifestyle and how microfinancing can help them. I'm glad I came.