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Lindsey McMahon

Organization: SIT (School for International Training) World Learning
Dates: August 20, 2017 to December 10, 2017
Traveled to Malawi, India and Italy for this internship

In Lindsey's own words

How I contributed: The goal of the program was to observe and study international food systems in a small discussion based setting. I brought a unique perspective as somebody who grew up on a farm in the U.S, and who has studied farming in the broad context of international development. We did not visit these countries to "help" or "teach." Sharing the experience with community members and host families in an enjoyable and culturally educative (for us) way was the goal.

What I felt most challenged by:   As a person with a life long farming background, I was challenged by those in my group constantly scrutinizing the many industries that comprise the food system when they themselves had little to no farming experience. It was extremely frustrating to engage in class discussions as an individual within the group with minority thoughts and opinions. Therefore, not resisting the curriculum was very challenging.

What I enjoyed most:    The cultural immersion of the experience. We resided with host families and engaged in constant activities that provided an interpretation of what every day life in each setting was actually like. I left each country with a clear image of what it was to live day to day there, and the enjoyable, difficult, and beautiful aspects of those days.

Would I recommend this experience:   Yes 100%. It isn't the type of study abroad program that is easy or the stereotypical idea of college fun. It turns your world upside down, and makes you question your privilege and position constantly. It provides you ample opportunities for hands on work in the global food system and introduces you to professionals in a vast number of fields. It exposes you to the good and the bad. It doesn't paint an aesthetic picture for you, it paints you many truths, and leaves room everyday for self-discovery and self- reflection. It is easily the most challenging thing I have ever done, and I am grateful for that.