Working at HOPE During the Summer

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.

Grade 9 Niigata Expedition Reflection

From October 17th to October 22nd, I went to Niigata as Grade 9 school expedition. I did a lot of new things that were beyond my comfort zone. Before we went, we had a meeting with all the people going to Niigata and we talked about what we wanted to get out of it. Some keywords were self-reliance, responsibility, leadership, and resilience. I decided then, to make my goal for the expedition to become self-reliant, responsibility and leadership. However, I have never hiked for three days or hiked for that long of a distance or stayed in a tent for two days. These things scared me a little bit. Also, when the teacher told us that we would have to navigate by ourselves and that we would have to carry everything on our own, I was very worried. I was also excited, though. The thing that I was most excited for was to spend the whole week with my friends and to expand my comfort zone. I hoped that by going to the expedition, I would be able to feel big accomplishment.

Me Holding the Map and Navigating

Me Holding the Map and Navigating

On the day before the first day of hiking, we decided on our role in the group. I chose to become the navigator of the group, who will use the map to get us to campsites. On the first day of the hike, I was a little bit nervous because I was not so sure of my navigating skills, but my group members assured me that they wouldn’t care if they get lost. That lifted my worry. As we started hiking, I started to get really tired because there were many steep hills and the trails were very hard to walk on with branches and muddy ground. On the way, we ate lunch and we hiked for about 6 hours. Finally, we made it to the campsite and I set up the tent for the first time in my life. It was very hard.

Setting Up the Tents

Setting Up the Tents

From this experience, I learned many things. For example, I think that I was able to become more self-reliant and have more leadership than before. By navigating by ourselves and getting to the campsite without getting lost, I was able to become self-reliant and by leading people the right way, I was able to learn more about leadership and how leaders should interact with others. I also learned how to build tents as well as other survival techniques like how to pack my bag correctly. All these things will stay with me because things like leadership and self-reliance are things that I can use in other places in my life. I also took risks on the first day. An example was when I was not really sure which way to go, I took some risk and half-guessed by the shape of the trail on the map. These risking skills might be important in my life too.

Washing Dishes

Washing Dishes

On the second day of the hike, we got lost. We took two different turns and had to go back the way we came. However, after 5 hours or so we finally managed to get to the campsite. At the campsite, we cooked by ourselves. We cut vegetables, washed dishes, started the fire and cooked stew. When washing the dishes we made sure that we used environmentally friendly dish soaps and use as little amount of soap and water as possible. When cooking, we also made sure to not drop any garbage and if we do, pick it up and take it with us, not leave it on the ground.

Cooking Stew

Cooking Stew

From the experiences on the second day, I learned to be more responsible for my actions. I learned these through getting lost and when cooking. Using the smallest amount of soap and water as well as using environmentally friendly soap helped me become more responsible. By dishwashing, I was able to find out what effect we have on nature even without us noticing. I learned that bad kind of dish soap can damage the rivers and by damaging the river, the fishes will be damages and that will lead to the whole food chain. Therefore I learned how each small actions can affect a bigger thing. This will help me in the future too because then I would be able to think before doing anything reckless and that might help me make lesser mistakes.

Overall, this expedition taught me a lot of things. I learned about responsibility, self-reliance, and leadership and all these things made me a better person. This made me feel very accomplished and proud of myself. All these things that I learned could be used in many places in my life, both now and future. An example for that will be when I am trying something new, I might need to be responsible for myself and be self-reliant. I really enjoyed the expedition and I feel like I want to do it again. This is because I feel like I could do better now that I went to Niigata. Maybe next time, I might be able to stay on the mountain longer or try harder trails. Lastly, if this expedition was a metaphor for something in my life, it would be my school life. Like when I was hiking, there would always be ups and downs, both literally and not, and this can be said for my school life too because sometimes I would do well at something but sometimes, there might be things that I find very hard to do and struggle. Also in the expedition, I learned new things about myself and about my friends and classmates. This was very fun and I enjoyed it very much. Therefore, this year’s expedition was really helpful for me and I thought it was full of excitement and interests.

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