What they say
Zinab Elfriede Kudom-AgyemangEisa
George Washington University
During this pandemic, I was thinking it would not be possible to have an internship. Before the lockdown, my colleagues and I were looking forward to internship opportunities in Asia as student grants were readily available to fund us. Thankfully, there was a way out: Remote Internship. I thought working remotely would not be effective. But my experience working as the Business Development Intern with Duithape has been more beneficial and rewarding to me. For 99% of the tasks I executed, I had no prior knowledge; it was a learning process for me. This opportunity equipped me not only with new transferable skills but also reinforced my exiting skills.
International students like myself would bear witness to the fact that it is, indeed arduous to secure an internship or job offer in the USA. Knowing that these new skills will boost my resume, I was more confident that ever that I would finally secure another great internship opportunity. I got great recommendation from my supervisor, Sara Dhewanto. Not so long I was accepted for a position as the Economic Empowerment Intern with International Rescue Committee, a job that completely aligns with my academic and professional goals. I am certain this is just the beginning of greater things ahead.
I would like to say a very big thank you to Padi, for making this internship possible for us at these difficult times. And a big thank you to Duithape for having me. I would not trade my experience with anything else.
My experience with Padi was unique given the fact that it was the first time they conducted remote internships. While it was a learning experience for everyone, I felt that they made sure they were available if we needed any help. This experience was completely out of my comfort zone in many ways, which allowed me to think about it more critically than other positions I had been in prior to this summer. Going into my senior year I wanted to gain experience to guide me, so I had more of idea what I wanted to do post-graduation. Through this opportunity I gained more clarity on how many of my interests around coding, education, environmental justice, and health could connect in ways I never thought of before. While I am still unclear if I cemented my career path, the most important lesson I learned is being shown an example of what type of working environment I would thrive in. Regardless what field I choose to go into moving forward I will take what I learned from this experience with me.
Through it all, I was given the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.
By nature of association, traveling to Indonesia to work as a Padi intern with local agencies in healthcare and consulting resulted in cross-cultural dialog and thus cross-cultural understanding. I gained a global perspective on how micro-financial processes occur within the field of medicine, the steps taken, and the values in play in such a different part of the world, only to find that our worlds are not so different after all. I’ve always had an innate curiosity with medicine because it helps those who suffer.
Seeing how economic development plays a role in health care and health care policy is knowledge that may be gleaned from a textbook, but may only be understood through experience. On an even greater level, this experience submersed me in a country's language, in a country’s cultures and customs, and in a variety of skill sets that I could never learn in a traditional classroom environment. Through it all, I was given the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself. And this in turn, provides me with the ability to maneuver a world that becomes more and more interconnected every second.
Being part of the Padi Internship Program gave me a platform to empower both communities and myself as the both of us are pushed to realize our gifts and talents on a larger scale. It has truly been life changing in a way I can only describe through the impact of the work I've been able to help with.
"Those I have met during my time in Indonesia have made a significant impact on my experience and my life."
As a Culture and Politics major within the School of Foreign Service, I have learned that the only way to truly understand another culture and to find depth is in immersion. That being said, having an opportunity to live and work among Indonesians for two months was a true privilege.
I was able to work in Rumah Perubahan's kindergarten school where so many of the community children go to learn and grow. As part of my project, I interviewed families and teachers, working in direct contact with the community and learning about their determination for religious acceptance, equal education, and unity. I could not have asked for a more welcoming, more loving atmosphere to be in.
I can confidently say that those I have met during my time in Indonesia have made a significant impact on my experience and my life.
"I saw life from a different point of view, learned to work together with others regardless of culture or lingual barriers, and gained priceless experience in my field."
As a Padi Fellow I worked with Dr. Karina Moegni, who is the founder of Yayasan Hayandra Peduli, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dr. Karina trained as a plastic surgeon, and founded the Hayandra Organization in order to provide specialty medical services to under resourced populations throughout Indonesia. As an intern with Dr. Karina, I split my time between research in the clinic laboratory, and observation in the operating room. Through first-hand exposure, I had the most incredible opportunity to not only learn about surgery and stem cell research, but about global medicine as well.
I finished my undergraduate studies as a Biomedical Engineer this past spring, and applied to become a Padi Fellow in order to learn more about the world of cross-cultural professional work and gain clinical experience within medicine. I worked with the medical team in Jakarta and rural areas of Java to provide surgical care. In the lab which is also managed by Dr. Moegni, I studied stem cell therapies which helped me to advance my skills. I learned more about my own passions and strengths. I learned about life in a completely new environment, and my perspective of the world matured.
Through daily work experiences and time spent with my host family, I learned an incredible amount about Indonesia and Indonesian culture. My host family and co-workers welcomed me right away. They showed me patience, kindness, and understanding. I could not have asked for a better group of people to spend time with, and enjoyed new challenges and surprises each day. I feel fortunate to have both lived and worked with Indonesian natives, which made me feel like a true member of the community. I saw life from a different point of view, learned to work together with others regardless of cultural or lingual barriers, and gained priceless experience in my field. I made many contacts and friendships that will last a lifetime.
The other Padi fellows and founders served as an additional great community for me in Jakarta. I felt that I always had a strong network supporting me, which was awesome to have, and helped me to have the amazing experience that I did.
"I was able to focus on work right from my first day and adjusting to a new country felt really easy."
Padi organized my internship on climate change adaptation project with the Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI - a development contractor for USAID). The $19 million-dollar project was focused on building capacity in Indonesia’s government and private sector on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction techniques. This was precisely what I was looking for and it would have been nearly impossible to receive this internship opportunity without Padi’s assistance and vast network,
While departing from Washington D.C., Sofia Blake gave us an orientation and set-up an informal meet-up of 10-12 students. Therefore, even before departure, we knew that we had the right logistical information and support. Additionally, she gifted us a novel on Indonesia written by Elizabeth Pisani, which helped me understand Indonesia and its beautiful complexity throughout my journey.
More importantly, what differentiates Padi apart from other organizations is the semi-formal approach and the support that we received from the team in Indonesia comprising Sara, Kristin and their families. They welcomed us right from the moment we stepped foot in Indonesia and provided support throughout the internship. They were always a Whatsapp message away, and held bi-weekly dinners at Sara’s house with the other interns. Apart from that, we received an orientation upon arrival which provided cultural context, and the learning proved to be useful throughout my 10- week stay. Therefore, I was able to focus on work right from my first day and adjusting to a new country felt really easy.