For most of the students, summer means time off from university, holidays, sea side, and maybe some side job to afford the fun endeavours. Normally, the hottest part of the year would look somewhat like that for me as well. However, this summer I decided to spend it investing in my professional path instead. So, I ended up becoming an intern in Malta.

Let’s start with a few words about the country. This tiny rock slowly grew on me. The first few weeks were a bit rough, but I realised it is always like that when you come to a new location. You need some time to find the right people and the right places. And there is no point in rushing this period, rather learn to enjoy the strangeness of the first social hangouts and prepare to be disappointed every now and then. Eventually, you will figure out what feels good and until then, don’t give up. Embrace the awkwardness and observe yourself functioning in the uncharted territory.

Regarding the work, Willingness for sure did not disappoint. During this internship we were challenged with a big variety of different tasks – from organising Chat bars, to attending workshops on various topics, to designing social experiments, performing audits, and writing blogs. Although not all activities fit everyone, having such a wide range of tasks allowed each intern to grow in the areas they are most passionate about and try out those that they might have avoided in the past. In the end, the biggest advantage of doing a summer internship within an area in which you want to work in is gaining practical knowledge of your field and the more aspects of the latter you know about, the better you are equipped for making the right career choices in the future. Right?

One of the greatest surprises (and challenges) of this internship was being put together with a group of fourteen other psychology students. Most of us were from different countries and different backgrounds, with distinct motivations and aspirations. I often found myself wondering how incredibly peculiar each of us is but yet we share one big thing in common – our interest in psychology and people. Together, we did not only share our personal lives but each of us added their own part of the puzzle when it came to work as well. I honestly believe I learned a lot by interacting with this colourful mix of girls and I thank every one of them for their own unique inputs.

To conclude, I would like to express sincere gratitude to the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations (EFPSA) and Willingness for giving us the chance to spend these two months expanding our knowledge of psychology. I also wish to acknowledge the welcoming and kind attitude of the whole team, you made us feel like we were (at least temporarily) a part of your Willingness family. But what inspired me the most was something that has drawn me to Willingness in the first place – your persistent effort to improve. Thanks to this, I am leaving with the following mantra back home: Never stop growing, never stop learning, and if that means spending the summer working, let it be, it is definitely worth it!

P.S. Shout out to Mr. Brown posing with me in the photo, who (besides Aiste and Marie) made my everyday walk to work much more fun.

Eva Štrukelj is a recent graduate of Clinical and Health Psychology (Mater Programme at the University of Algarve) with an interest in sexual health and with its related social topics. She is currently an intern at Willingness Hub.