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China

Christine Leung

Organization:   Hebei Qimei Agriculture Science and Technology Co., Ltd.
Dates: July 29, 2017 to August 18, 2017

In Christine's own words

How I contributed: During my internship, the team and I focused on doing experiments on weed control issues on Qimei's fields. Qimei is an organic agriculture company, thus improving weed control will enhance the productivity and efficiency of Qimei's crop growth and harvest.

What I felt most challenged by: I am a city girl who had limited background knowledge on agriculture, let alone weeds, going into the internship. I felt disconnected at times when students with more experience would start discussing more complicated issues that I could barely understand. Nonetheless, I am glad I decided to do the internship because this experience was like a little jump start course that allowed me to catch up on what I was behind with before the semester started.

What I enjoyed most: Because of my urban and emerging markets background, I really enjoyed the completely different lifestyle I experienced in Hebei, China. In addition, I enjoyed the opportunity for hands on experience in the fields doing experiments, collecting and analysing data, and then writing the final reports. I think this internship was well rounded in the sense that I had a large variety of experiences during my time there. In general, I had a great time working with Qimei, but what I enjoyed most was working with the employees at the company because I could feel that they were all genuinely passionate about their jobs: everyone in the company was working towards the same goal of improving their products to serve the public. Their passion and dedication was inspirational.

Would I recommend this experience: I would definitely recommend this program to other students. What I gained from this experience was much more than what I could have ever learned in a classroom. Getting real life experiences gives you the whole picture of the issue at hand and allows you to fully understand how every little aspect could affect the big picture. I definitely had a great time when I was in China, and although we had quite a bit of work to do, we did have time to go sightseeing, explore, and have fun. Most importantly, everyone there were super friendly and basically amazing!

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Christine Leung

Organization:   Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG)
Dates: July 3, 2017 to July 28, 2017
Web: Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG)

In Christina's own words

How I contributed: KPMG is a professional services firm that highly values open communication, respect, and integrity. During my internship with KPMG's audit department, I worked with full time employees on real client cases and real audit reports. In order to preform audits, we had to communication openly, treat each other with respect, and collectively act with integrity.

What I felt most challenged by: This internship program was designed to be more of a learning by doing style because after one week of training in a classroom, I was assigned to a team in the audit department and had to do real auditing work for real clients. Because of this style of program, all the deadlines were very real and very tight indeed. All my team members were busy meeting all the various deadlines, and I was just an intern with little experience doing real life auditing. They did not have time to entertain my questions, so I had a lot of self learning to do; I had to adapt quickly and make use of what I had learned in my previous training sessions. I thought the working atmosphere was quite challenging, but at the same time, it was a very real experience because real auditors go through that every time.

What I enjoyed most: Although the style of the internship was difficult to adapt to at first, it was also what made my experiences unique and what me enjoy the internship program so much. From this internship, I gained hands on experience not only regarding the technical auditing work, but also the emotions and mentality that I would eventually experience if I join the company in the future. Everything I experienced during my time working at KPMG felt very real.

Would I recommend this experience: I would recommend this program to students who have taken an auditing class, or at least an accounting class, prior to the internship because there was a decent amount of technical work involved. Overall, I had a great time working with my team and I believe the experiences I gained will be helpful in the future. This internship program would be a good fit for IARD students who are concentrating in economic development because international agriculture and rural development involves money, and a good accounting background is essential to managing finances well.

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Valentina Cuadros

Organization:   Expertise Education Company Ltd.
Dates: 6/15/2016 to 8/15/2016

In Valentina's own words

How I contributed: I don't think I did. I only taught for two months and then I had to abruptly leave the students.

What I felt most challenged by: Culture shock. I was studying abroad in Denmark for five months. I had just acclimated to Scandinavian culture and didn't realize how hard it would be to adapt to Beijing culture.

What I enjoyed most: Using/practicing my Mandarin. The locals definitely appreciate and are more happy to interact with foreigners who can speak their language.

Would I recommend this experience: I would recommend living in China but not to teach in a school for two months. Beijing is a lively, fun, and very interesting city. Teaching for just a few months, however, feels like a very disruptive thing to do.

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Melania Mora Thomas

Organization:   Qimei Hebei Agricultural Science and Technology LTD
Dates: 5/21/2015 - 7/20/2015

In Melania's own words

How I contributed: We generated research on the use of cover crops and compost on corn plants.  I conducted a business analysis of the company.

What I felt most challenged by: I felt the most challenged by not knowing the local language so as to be able to communicate with people and truly learn from them.

What I enjoyed most: I enjoyed farming the most.  The farms up in the mountains were so scenic that being in those fields, whatever we were doing, was so meditative.

Would I recommend this experience: It would depend on what the student is looking for.  While it was really valuable, there was a lot of time of inactivity with few stuff to do and no opportunity of tourist activities.  Some looking to tourist around wouldn't be happy with this, neither someone who is expecting to work on a 9 to 9 schedule.

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Mahilet Kebede

Organization:  Qimei Hebei Agricultural Science and Technology LTD
Dates: 5/23/2014 to 7/21/2014

In Mahilet's own words

How I contributed: I and a fellow Cornell student worked with Qimei staff and the Cornell professors in charge of the program to implement and collect data for an experiment. The purpose of the experiment was to test the performance of a variety of cover crops inter-cropped with maize on small organic farms. We collected data on the growth rate of the plants and amount of biomass available for soil incorporation at the end of the season. Our work over the summer of 2014, along with work done by previous interns, was intended to help improve soil fertility on the organic grain farms.

What I felt most challenged by: The most challenging aspect of the trip was the language barrier. I had no experience with Mandarin prior to doing this internship and had to rely entirely on translators to communicate with the farmers and other Qimei staff.

What I enjoyed most: I enjoyed the time we spent in the fields, out in the countryside. It was one of the most peaceful environments I've experienced to date. The trip also gave me the chance to visit Beijing, the Great Wall of China and many other historical, natural and cultural landmarks. Shopping in Chinese supermarkets was an adventure on its own. I saw and sampled so many new fruits, vegetables and eggs.The trip was a powerful reminder that there are many different ways to lead a good life.

Would I recommend this experience: I would recommend this experience to someone who is looking for a internship in a highly controlled environment. We were not allowed to venture out of Qimei's headquarters without a driver and translator to accompany us. Though this was a measure taken for our safety it meant that we could not do any exploring on our own and that our schedule depended entirely on who from the company was available to spend the day with us. Therefore I would not recommend this to someone with an independent, individualistic personality.

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Suraya Diggs

Organization: Qimei Hebei Agricultural Science and Technology LTD
Dates: 5/22/2014 to 7/21/2014

In Surayya's words

How I contributed: My work was researching better farming practices. I believe I helped the mission by helping the company produce more vegetables.

What I felt most challenged by: There was a lot of freedom so I was challenged to be patient.

What I enjoyed most: I enjoyed traveling to some of the surrounding cities and becoming acquainted with the staff, they were very pleasant.

Would I recommend this experience? I would not recommend this program unless it was seriously reworked. There is little structure to the program so I ended up spending most of my time doing nothing that contributed to the company and exploring the area.

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Catherine May

Organization: Hebei Qimei Agricultural Sciences and Technology Co Ltd
Dates: 18-Jun-13 - 17-Aug-13

In Catherine's own words

How I contributed: With the other three interns and the help of our professors, we designed three experiments to collect data on the status of the soil health on company-owned farms with the goal of determining environmentally sustainable management tactics.

What I felt most challenged by: The professional environment in Chinese culture is extremely different from our own. While the people were incredibly hospitable, sometimes it was hard to not be allowed to do certain things.

What I enjoyed most: I spent a week in the Taihang Mountains working in a rural village where the company contracted different farmers. This experience let me feel the strongest connection to China because I spent more time interacting with farmers, exploring the landscape, and getting to know people in the town. I even hung out with elementary school kids and taught them some English words! /

Would I recommend this experience: I would recommend the experience overall, but I would suggest to be sure you put in extra effort to try to develop new ideas. Sometimes getting to travel to experiments was difficult or not an option at all, so I spent a lot of time at the company headquarters where I didn't get to help as much as I would've liked. If you can prepare by thinking of extra project ideas, that would make for a worthwhile trip.

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Theo Pritz

Organization: Hebei Qimei Agricultural Technologies
Dates: 18-Jun-13 - 15-Aug-13

In Theo's own words

How I contributed: We helped the company mainly by outlining steps they can take with their contracted farmers and on their own land that can help increase their soil health. We conducted soil health tests at various locations, and did small experiments to try to show the effects of practices like composting or cover cropping. The information and advice we were able to offer the company may have gone in one ear and out the other, since they often seemed to only want us there so that they could tell organic certifiers and government officials that they had collaborated with "experts" from Cornell University. We did get a chance to work with the individual farmers, however, who seemed very happy to talk with us about various farming concerns, such as pest management and how to find small machinery at an affordable price.

What I felt most challenged by: The language barrier was the most challenging part of this experience, because working through a translator was often very difficult, and I really wished I had a better knowledge of Mandarin. At times, people would use the language barrier against us to mishear or ignore us when it suited the company's purposes. This was very frustrating, because I felt like most of the problems that we encountered could have been sorted out if we had been fluent in Mandarin and able to advocate for ourselves without the use of a translator that had been hired by the company.

What I enjoyed most: Living and working in the mountains was the best part of our trip. We were able to focus on our experiments in the field, see beautiful sights, eat good food, and interact with and learn more from the Chinese people in the village than when we were relatively isolated at the company compound.

Would I recommend this experience: This depends. If the students are the kind of people who are able to learn from a less-than-perfect kind of experience, then I think it could be a beneficial experience. If the students want a comfortable internship where things go as planned, and where lessons about the culture / society they're experiencing are spoon-fed to them, then this internship wouldn't be a good match. With this internship, very little goes as planned and you have to work to learn things from the often very frustrating experiences you're having. It can still be a huge learning experience, and for me I think it was. But I don't think I would recommend it for everybody. It would also help a LOT to know Mandarin.

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Audrey Boochever

What I enjoyed most: My favorite part of this experience was hiking through the Nicaraguan rain forest finding native bamboo clumps.

Would I recommend this experience: I would recommend this international experience to students who are interested in low cost housing issues because it teaches you in depth how a low cost housing company works.

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