After spending nearly three months at bab.la, my internship is coming to an end. I don’t know what I should write about in my last article, but I will just try to jot down my feelings at the moment.
I have a sense of completion. Before I came here, the Arabic portal was non-existent and now it’s alive! The fact that I contributed to the launch of a free Arabic-English dictionary that is available to everyone on the internet is just amazing. I am quite fond of open-source and wiki-style content websites and this is what bab.la’s portal is all about.
I also feel a sense of accomplishment. I would say I grew up a spoiled child, and I never really lived on my own before. In Egypt, where I come from, the youth are really different from Europe or Germany. The youth here are so independent, they know how to live on their own – for example, they know how to cook and maintain a household. It was also strikingly interesting to see young men being hosts and managing the kitchen work for their friends and whatnot. Here is something you would never see among the young men in my country, they are just so dependent on the women in their lives and I doubt they would survive on their own.
This also leads to another point – women. Women here don’t have the mother role attached to them like back home. In Egypt I would be expected to be the host, to cook and to clean up after parties and dinners, not my brother for example. But here, the fact that you are a woman doesn’t come with any duties. You can just be. Also there is no pressure to look like a supermodel – like wearing dresses and wearing make-up and so on. There is no pressure on looking womanly. I love the simplicity here.
In addition to the independence, I can also see other differences between the youth here and back home. In general, there is a laid back attitude towards life, with more emphasis on the quality of life and enjoying the day than achieving long-term goals. Students, for example, tend to take time off to travel and see the world, while that would be really frowned upon back home – everyone is expected to be a full time student till graduation from university, not just high school.
I also really appreciate the way people have strong friendship bonds here. I think it is because of the fact everyone lives away from home; your friends, coworkers and colleagues just become your family. I remember that I never actually went out with any of my coworkers back home, but now my colleagues here at bab.la have become true friends.
Oh well, these were some of my reflections towards the end of my internship here. All the best to the readers of Lexiophiles – thank you for following!