It is here. My very last blog post for GWL now that my internship is coming to an end. As farewells are never easy by their nature, I thought long and hard about the tone of this blog post. Should I give it the mournful voice of my heart? Or should I make this a wannabe happy blog post? To be honest, neither seemed right so I decided to make this blog post something I enjoy. One type of blog posts I enjoy reading in my free time are the kind of blog posts where people voice a certain number of bullet points on a specific subject. Hence I decided to do so myself, too, and present to you ten facts about my internship here with GWL.
1. During my internship with GWL, I made friends from seven different nations and four different continents.
2. For research purposes, I worked with sources in the following languages and dialects: Standard English, Scots, Gaelic, Welsh, French, German, Russian, Dutch, Icelandic and Swedish. Of course, I do not speak all of them and, to be honest, without the help of dictionaries and software I would have never been able to work with the respective documents to this extent. However, I think it is astonishing to see how globally but also historically oriented research at GWL is and how far especially research on international suffragettes can take you. (And it is even more astonishing to see how much you can comprehend in languages with the same roots as your mother tongue despite the lack of vocabulary!)
3. Due to a series of events and thanks to the support of a very kind volunteer, I have now decided to learn the language Farsi. By now, I know about 90% of the signs by heart and I can already say things like “Hello, how are you?“, “Thank you very much!“ and “You’re welcome.“. To be continued!
4. I started at GWL with a massive and highly chronic Writer’s Block Syndrome due to the sheer fear of other people judging my writing. Thanks to Donna and the continuous publishing of blog posts, I have overcome that almost entirely.
5. For the National Lifelong Learning Project, I travelled about 430 miles – all of them via public transport!
6. I have never learnt to become a photographer but everyone enjoyed my pictures so much, they eventually started calling me “Photographer in Residence“ in a (half-)joking manner. Three of my photographs even made it into our current programme brochure.
7. Working with GWL has made me the most aware I have ever been of impairments and the potential difficulties for their bearers. Really. More often than before, I attend events or go to public places and think “Oh but what if … then this would be a no-go/ have to be changed to…“. I hope I will keep to this level and will be able to create ideal situations for my own future events and endeavours, too.
8. During the past six months, I read 20 books.
9. I discovered the nickname and real name of a suffragette who went to Holloway prison. A scientific-themed wish I had held but deemed to be only in reach of professionals with years of experience in this field of research. Please find my blog post on her here.
10. Thanks to GWL I found pleasure in history and research in that field. Honestly, in school I disliked the subject a lot. I found it boring, I have got a bad memory for dates and an even worse memory for names. All dispositions not suitable for an excelling career (or even grades for that matter) in that field. So I happily ditched it after Grade 10, about two years before I graduated from high school. Little did I know that my internship with GWL would teach me the basics of historic research and that I would even joyfully undertake it myself.
I truly had the time of my life here in Glasgow and it is safe to say I owe much of the quality of my stay to the wonderful women working and volunteering at GWL. I cannot thank any of them enough for the countless hours of laughing, deep but also light-hearted talks, their incessant support when I most needed it and just being impeccable persons you cannot help but love. Interning at GWL has been much more than filling life hours with tasks, it was developing as a human being and at the same time giving back to others. For my personal development, GWL has become central and it is my ardent wish to make similar experiences in the future. Similar only because there is just one original GWL. I think anybody who has been with us before can agree on this and understand what I am talking about. If you haven’t, I am crossing my fingers (and toes!) in the hope that you can find out for yourself one day.
Jeanette is an Erasmus intern at Glasgow Women’s Library and involved in the National Lifelong Learning Project and Story Café, among other projects of GWL. She started in April and will stay until early October. Her internship here is part of her studies of English and Gender Studies at the Saarland University in Germany, where she grew up, and is supported by Erasmus.