Written by Abduvokhid Abdugaforov
Agriculture/ Plants –Internship Trainee Participant
In May 2018 I packed up all my stuff and said goodbye to my family and flew to the United States for my CHI Internship. I was based in Loudon, a small town in New Hampshire famous for its lakes and mountains. My internship in the field of Hydroponically Greenhouse attracted me by its major Automotive Processes. The 12-month internship for me was a great opportunity to increase my fundamental part of a study in the sphere of agriculture at Lef Farms Corp.
Lef Farms Corp, which is a local farm is 100% hydroponic. Being hydroponic translates to better food safety, more consistent high quality, and a more sustainable environment than organic growing can produce. This local farm has been operating for 4 years. When I was searching for an internship opportunity, I knew I wanted to work at Lef Farm. It would allow me to explore different interests, develop professional experience, and collect preliminary data for my future study. I made specific goals and objectives such as to be able to apply theoretical and practical knowledge obtained during the internship, enhance leadership and management abilities, as well as expand my network.
I had a really great time in Loudon and thought I would share some of my stories from the internship.
The first month of the internship, in June, I came to Lef Farm. Rules and working system were deeply explained. After this overview, I started to adapt to the place and people working on the farm. In the internship process, I had a chance to work in several departments that contributed to the achievement of my goals.
Different kind of experiences – ‘learning while living abroad’
An internship is not just about working abroad. It can be considered as personality development and life learning program, a stable base for the international career. I believe that the obtained experiences in the United States were not only interesting but also very useful.
Thanks to my local community coordinator every month we had a gathering (International Friends Group) and I really enjoyed presentations, music nights, homemade and traditional foods and great parties. Several presentations at the meetings provided me with the incredible opportunity to share about my home, Uzbekistan.
Enhancing language skills
This internship was incredibly valuable as a learning experience, both from a practical and personal perspective. During the internship, I did not look at only the practical side but made many friends from different spheres. We talked about our experience, skills, stories ways of implementing, and further plans of our career. On the other hand, I realized that by doing an internship abroad, it is the easiest way to learn and improve language skills. Firstly, interns improve their English while working. They need to communicate and work together with native speakers. It means improving your language for free by co-workers. Secondly, I took English class at “Second Star School” which allows students around the world to learn for free. I can surely say I enhanced my speaking skills dramatically thanks to the fantastic school team, Lef Farm and interns.
Discovering new tastes
Out of work, I spent my time visiting local farms, sightseeing places, and some trips to other states, local restaurants with special foods, hiking, and many other activities. I remember trying alligator and bison meat for the first time at a local restaurant. We enjoyed listening to live country songs and eating good food.
Exploring new holidays and cities
I can say confidently that the internship program is a great opportunity not only for gaining experience but also for traveling. While I was an intern I planned trips to other states including Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and of course a big apple New York City. So many new places in only one year.
I was excited to spend some holidays like Halloween in America since in Uzbekistan we don’t celebrate it. Thanks to my host business I got days off for the celebration of Halloween. I went to Chicago for Halloween and it was even more than I hoped for. Almost every house was decorated with lights, fake ghosts, zombies and of course with pumpkins.
Enrichment of personality in a year
One of the biggest thing from the internship was the opportunity to develop myself as a person, which was accompanied by great gains such as – language skills, new friends, traveling around the world and getting to know different cultures and traditions.
I admit that a lot of useful life skills were acquired because of the exchange program. That included things like cooking, cleaning, ironing, learning new hobbies and broadening horizons. But without question, my favorite part was spending time with interns from around the world. Special thanks to my great friends who are now my second family.
This internship made me more confident in my working sphere than before. I achieved personal development after finishing the internship. I would say, I had a brilliant time during this internship and it will never be forgotten in my life. It was the first time I shared a house, the first time I tried to say “Tudo bem” “Obrigado”, “Nǐ hǎo” or “Dankeschön”, the first time I went shopping alone, the first time I celebrated my birthday without my family, the first time I celebrated the New Year with different people overseas, and the first time I understood that this experience had changed my life forever.
Then I understood how many opportunities are around me and there is no sense to feel afraid to discover it. Fear is our bigger enemy. This internship experience helped me to better understand what I want in my personal and professional life. I have tons of stories to tell, I have a lot of memories I can share. Thanks to the internship I took a one-year wonderful break from my studies and came back to student life with great, fresh, new ideas and willingness to study more and more.
A huge thanks to my friends, family and coworkers and Cultural Homestay International (CHI) for offering me an incredible year. CHI has been with me every step of my internship.