Jerry, International Development and Globalization
Internship Country: Myanmar
Canadian and local NGO: Forum of Federations
It has been more than 10 weeks now since I started my internship with Forum of Federations. It has been a very interesting experience that I will always cherish. Doing an international internship was something that I looked forward to for the last two years of my university education. I had the pleasure to work with an international team and it gave me great insight on what a career in the development field could look like. Obviously, the remote work made everything more challenging, but I still enjoyed and appreciated the experience that this opportunity provided, which I’m also sure will look great to future employers.
My work mostly entailed helping by doing research on federalism in Myanmar. I also helped around by reviewing documents and offering my assistance whenever it was needed. The fact that the Forum of Federations does not operate like other NGOs, by not being an organization that generates development aid like we would think, greatly shaped my experience as well. Since the organization mainly focuses on sharing knowledge with partners and other NGOs, I was somewhat forced to lean harder into the research aspect of my work. This made me not only learn a lot about a country I previously had a limited knowledge about, but I also dipped my toes into a subject I was not initially as interested in. Working at Forum of Federations made me want to look more into federalism and decentralisation and how it affects policies around me.
As much as I appreciated this experience and enjoyed it, it was still bittersweet for me. I did find myself longing for more personal contacts with my teammates and not just over a screen. As we know the pandemic, coupled with the fact that Myanmar is currently under a military coup made this impossible to accomplish. I still wish I had in-person contact with my colleagues because I think that it would have my experience even more impactful. I understated the importance of face-to-face contact when collaborating and this was felt throughout my internship. The silver lining however of having this internship online was that it was more affordable for me since a lot of the costs were not included.
In conclusion, I’m very happy of my time at Forum of Federations and I’m happy of my work there. I’ll certainly keep contact with my colleagues in my future endeavors. This was a greatly formative experience and I'm thankful to the Faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Ottawa but also to the Forum of Federations for making this possible.