University: University of International Business and Economics
I really appreciate HBF Cambodian office for offering this internship. I had a wonderful time working and living in Phnom Penh. During my internship, I worked on a research about land conflicts caused by a Chinese investment project—UDG (Union Development Group) case. I also shared some information about land issues in China on Development Partner meeting in the World Bank.
Now three months have passed and here is what I have experienced.
First, it is my first time living and working abroad. I learnt how to deal with difficulties in life by myself.
Second, this internship offers me a good chance to know Cambodia. Land issues reflect some crucial problems of this country. So I got to know not only local conditions and customs, but also some deep social issues in Cambodia during my internship.
Third, I learnt more about the works of NGOs. NGOs are relatively new things in China but they are booming in recent years. During the internship, I had many interviews with all kinds of NGOs and got to know their works. It is very precious experience for me. I learnt more about the work and roles of HBF as well.
Fourth, this internship gave me another angle to see Chinese FDI and foreign policies. I think Chinese investors, taking UDG for example, lack necessary information and talents to deal with sensitive issues such as compensation and relocation. They are not open enough to civil society. I also found Chinese government lacks mechanism to monitor Chinese investments abroad.
Last but not the least, I built deep friendships with my colleagues and made some good friends. I had wonderful office time with Leyla, Laura, Sonja and Tim. I really have mixed feeling when I have to go. What is more, HBF helped me with my research a lot. Country Director Ali had meeting with me regularly to ask what kind of help HBF could offer with my research. Program Coordinator Ratana helped me to get in touch with relevant NGOs and gave me many good suggestions. Office Assistant Ravy helped me translate some important documents in Khmer. I received helps from other employees in HBF as well. Thanks to you all.
Looking in retrospect, I think there are many things that I could do better.
First, I should have built my own researching relations earlier. NGOs are not very popular in China. I did not know how to come into contact with them in the beginning. So I relied on the connections HBF provided. In fact, NGOs are much more open than I thought.
Second, I should have planned a field trip earlier. It is a shame that I did not visit the project I researched here. HBF provides not only connections but also fund for my research. I should make the best use of it.
Third, I should have gone to Goethe School to learn German when I came here. I missed a good chance to learn German.
Anyway, this experience is invaluable for me.
As a student, what I can do now is writing papers to let people know more about Cambodia and Chinese investments here. But I really want to do something to promote the transparency of Chinese government and investments in the future. I think this internship will have very deep and positive influence in my career and life in the long run. Thanks HBF again.