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Sri Lanka

Yashodhan Gharat

Organization: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Dates: 10-Jun-13 - 10-Aug-13

In Yashodhan's own words

How I contributed: As a monitoring and evaluation intern, helped them with writing evaluation reports and conducting qualitative assessments of their projects up north. I was able to spend a lot of time on background research for creating an indicator database, which they thought was a valuable tool to have

What I felt most challenged by: The work itself was not a challenge; but sometimes I would be done with the allotted work quite fast, and then I would have to wait around for my supervisor to get back to me with comments and so on...

What I enjoyed most: The people in the office were extremely friendly and knowledgeable. We got to travel to areas that are otherwise off-limits to outsiders, just because we were traveling with the UN, which was great! Got to see and learn a lot about humanitarian aid and project management through that extended field visit

Would I recommend this experience: Yes. Especially if it's someone who has never been to South Asia, I think Sri Lanka is a good soft landing into the region. It is relatively safe, quiet, easy to get around...foreigners are welcome and the country is heavily focused on foreign tourism. / As for the work, it is a great chance to work with a large organization like the FAO and get hands-on experience with project planning, management and evaluation.

Jamie Johnson

Organization: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Dates: 4-Jun-13 - 12-Aug-13

In Jamie's own words

How I contributed: I worked as a communications intern. I helped design the new news letter and wrote most of the stories for it. I also had the opportunity to take photos for various events the fao was hosting to gain awareness for their projects. In general I was given a variety of tasks based on the needs of my boss.

What I felt most challenged by: I was most challenged by the people I was working with. The FAO has a significant amount of talented hard working people who were constantly keeping the bar set high. I also struggled when i didn't have enough to do. I wanted to always be working and sometimes there was just not much work for me which I found frustrating.

What I enjoyed most: The highlight of my trip was going to the north because it made the projects I had been reading about for weeks come to life. The northern part of Sri Lanka is still recovering from a thirty year internal conflict. It was eye opening to see how different peoples lives were in the north and that really put the whole country in perspective for me.

Would I recommend this experience: Absolutely, the FAO treated me so well and I think it was valuable exposure to that type of work. I would recommend this experience to anyone looking to experience one of the most beautiful places in the world while doing meaningful work.