During the summer vacation from Grade 9 to Grade 10, I did a two-weeks summer intern at HOPE International Development Agency Japan. The whole internship was from July 10th to July 21st and I worked at the HOPE-JP Tokyo office from 10:00 to around 17:00. I have decided to do this short internship in the first place because I have been involved with the HOPE Cambodia Club in our school, which workes together with HOPE, since the beginning of Grade 9 and was interested in the issue of poverty and what is being done about it. However, since this was something very new to me I was very nervous before going there and was not sure if I would be able to help out successfully. There were mainly two main things that I wanted to get out of this experience and those were knowledge about poverty and experience in working. For knowledge about poverty, this was because as mentioned previously, I became interested in the poverty and wanted to learn about how people are being affected as well as what measures are being taken to reduce them. For the experience in working, it was because I have never done anything like this before and was curious to see how it was like to work. I also thought that maybe this working experience could be useful in the future when I need to think about my careers.
Throughout the internship experience, my job was an assistant, researcher, and translator. Some of my job as part of an assistant was to catalog all the name cards on the email list for the newsletters HOPE sends to every sponsor/donor monthly and to decide on the menu for a charity lunch. As a researcher, I researched about basic facts of Ethiopia to make some questions that will be used as a quiz for the charity gala HOPE organizes in October as well as searching for water container companies that would be willing to provide HOPE with water containers for a charity event called the Walk for Water. Finally, as a translator, I translated reports, documents, Facebook posts, volunteer recruitment texts, and etc from English to Japanese or from Japanese to English. I did these tasks every day and it was unlike anything that I do at school.
Overall, the two weeks internship experience passed very quickly and I think my understanding of poverty, as well as me as a person, changed a little compared to before the experience. This is because before I only had vague ideas about what poverty was and did not necessarily know what NGOs like HOPE were doing in order to combat them. However now, I can explain a little more about poverty and that HOPE combats poverty through projects such as the construction of well and schools, micro-credits, and animal banks. One unexpected learning was that I was able to gain the knowledge of poverty cycles. This was unexpected as I did not know anything about it or have ever heard about it before the internship and since it came up quite a lot during the translation and the research, I was able to gain this new piece of knowledge. Before this experience, I considered my strengths as organization skills and research skills and my weakness as communication and social skills. It turned out that this was quite true and that my strong organization and research skill came in very handy for my interest towards poverty because I needed to do a lot of research about the current situations as well as be organized so that I can actually complete the tasks that were given to me fully. In the end, the experience matched my goal and expectations quite well as I was not only able to gain work experience and learn more about poverty but also learn more about what I am good at and how much I am capable.
I believe that this is not the finish for my interest towards poverty and I would do the same experience again if I could, possibly for a longer period of time or for a different job because I only had two weeks and learned this much, which made me curious to see how much more I can learn in a longer period of time or what else I can learn from doing another job. I am also using this experience for my Personal Project because I have decided to do my Personal Project on raising awareness about poverty in different parts of the world and how organizations help reduce it. Therefore, my journey in learning about poverty is not finished yet and I am still looking forward to finding out more about it.