An internship abroad does not only offer you the opportunity to put the knowledge gained from your studies into practice, but also to expand your intercultural skills! Our participant Friederike is a student of geo-ecology and did an internship at an eco-farm and agricultural school in Myanmar. She experienced the culture and way of life of this fascinating country first hand and made very special friendships. Read more about her exciting experience:
For my one month internship I decided to travel to Myanmar to work with an organization called “NEED-Myanmar“. “NEED“ stands for “Network for Environment and Economical Development“ and is a school and teaching farm that teaches sustainable agriculture methods and environmental conservation topics to young farmers in Myanmar.
My day started with classes in the eco school at 8:30. During class I answered questions, helped the students with group work or taught myself. We talked about topics like erosion, river regulation, permaculture, risks of coal mining and renewable energy. The lessons were in Burmese and English. Classes usually finished at 3:00 pm. From 3:30 pm till 5:00 pm we worked on the fields and watered the plants, harvested, built new beds or fixed the chicken house. Afterwards, there was always some time for Badminton or Volleyball!
The students were open, curious and kind. Some pupils taught me traditional dances or showed my how to apply Thanaka (a traditional paste from bark that’s applied on the skin). Even though there were some communication problems due to the language barrier, we were able to build a strong friendship.
I lived on the farm and had my own bedroom and own bathroom, but without running water. But I got used to living without running water pretty quickly.
I could learn a lot about tropical and sustainable agriculture as well as about the problems and difficulties burmese farmers face. Just to name one example: Burmese farmers have to change the structure of the beds depending on the change of dry season to rainy season, otherwise the rain would wash away the soil.
But I could learn the most about Myanmar and its people! Everyone told me a lot about their culture, their hometowns, their families, their wishes and dreams. I learned things about Myanmar that I would’ve never been able to learn on a holiday or from a book.
When you decide to go to Myanmar and work on the NEED-farm you will meet the kindest and friendliest people, you will learn a lot about their culture and ways of life and you will lose your heart to the people and the country.