My International Practicum Experience - Week 3
June 19, 2019 | 2:00 PM
Colton Pettyjohn '19, Social Work Major
This past week has been a real adventure! At the start of the week, I was asked by one of my supervisors if I would like to go out in the field and gain some new experiences. Of course, I said yes. When he responded, “Good, we leave in two hours,” I rushed back to where I was staying, packed and got ready. Two hours later we were headed to a local village to spend the next four days in the field.
Our work in the field consisted of canvassing, or surveying, all of the local villages for persons with disabilities or mental illness. Our first stop was the local Jain temple where we’d be staying for the next four days. As soon as we arrived at the temple, the first monsoon of the season hit. Despite the monsoon, I was able to meet so many great people and I really connected to those who work in a similar field as me. We all had a fun time and laughed a lot, like when I accidentally fell in the mud. After I fell, I had to rinse off and walk around barefoot while I waited for my shoes to dry, and even though everyone laughed when I fell, they became really paranoid when I walked around barefoot. I also got my first Indian sunburn last week. After wrapping up our efforts on Saturday, we made the hour and a half long journey back to Ahmedabad.
After my experience in the field this week, I realized that India has taught me another lesson: you have to be flexible and able to adapt to change. No matter what circumstances arise, we have to have the ability to modify our actions and reactions based on the scenario. I feel that Americans know how to do this pretty well, and in Ahmedabad, when change happens, they adjust quickly. For instance, when my supervisor told me we’d be leaving for the village in two hours, I was shocked at the amount of time that I had to prepare to leave. I did my best to be ready within those two hours and arrived on time for our departure. Overall, what I’ve realized is that the ending doesn’t matter as much as the journey it takes to get there, and part of that journey is being able to adapt to the different paths you walk to get where you’re going.