Hello, Southeast Asia!

Well, folks. It is 8:20 am as I type in the Taipei airport, and I am contemplating how I am suddenly in Taiwan and whether or not it is real life. The pink and white Hello Kitty themed departure gate isn’t helping my cause.

After a full day of travel accompanied by countless declarations of “Wow, this is crazy,” I am only one hour away from boarding my final flight to Manila. Given that I slept and ate my way through most of the travel time, it seems that I have simply blinked and opened them to suddenly find myself in Asia for the first time.

However, getting here has been months in the making. I was studying abroad in Barcelona when I submitted my initial application for the Freeman Asia Internship Program in late January of 2017. The concept was entirely abstract to me. Two months in Tokyo, Hong Kong, or Manila? Sounds pretty cool, but hard to imagine myself being there.

I learned shortly after submission that I had been accepted to work at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) in Taguig,  part of Metro Manila. I could hardly wrap my head around the concept of spending my summer in the Philippines, as I was already 4,800 miles from home, but I happily accepted the offer.

That was four months ago. Now, reality is on the verge of hitting me over the head and shouting, “You might not believe it yet, Kate, but you’re actually here in Manila!” Over the next two months, I will be interning in the Knowledge Diffusion department of FNRI. Fancy name, straightforward premise: I’ll be writing about FNRI’s technology development, as well as drafting media releases and other info bits.

As this is my first real job, I am excited but quite nervous. However, of the eighteen other IWU students interning in the Philippines, four are working with me at FNRI, so I will have some familiar faces going through the same learning process.

It may take some time to acclimate, but I am looking forward to all of the adventures (planned and otherwise) that will ensue in the next sixty days! I will be writing weekly blog posts about my experiences in Manila–from working to experiencing the culture to eating to traveling.  I look forward to experiencing and sharing my summer!

Until next time. Ingat ka!

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