I am currently studying a Master of International Public Health (MIPH) and Master of Public Health (MPH). I have significant experience working clinically in health, but public health is a new area for me. I enrolled in the internship program as I thought it would provide an amazing opportunity to consolidate knowledge I had learnt in the MIPH/MPH program, with practical experience. The opportunity to undertake the internship in India appealed to me, as this would expose me to a different culture and environment than I was used to – something I think is necessary to truly understand the term ‘international public health’.
I am placed with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO). SEARO is located in New Delhi, India. SEARO has 11 member states: Bangladesh; Bhutan; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; India; Indonesia; Maldives; Myanmar; Nepal; Sri Lanka; Thailand, and Timor-Leste. Within SEARO, I am placed with the Emergency and Humanitarian Action Unit (EHA).
Working in an international office, I have been able to meet and work with people from all different backgrounds. I have enjoyed working with people from all backgrounds. Currently, my direct supervisor is from Myanmar, and his superior is from the Philippines. I believe this cultural diversity is unique to working with an international organisation, such as the WHO.
I have also enjoyed learning first hand about the work that is undertaken by the EHA. I have been involved in reviewing emergency reports from the South East Asian (SEA) region, which has given my valuable insight into disaster management and preparedness of countries within the SEA.
I think that the internship program will provide me with opportunities in my future career. I believe the opportunity to work with the WHO is invaluable. It provides an opportunity to gain an understanding for how an international public health organisation functions, whilst also allowing me to make contacts within the WHO. I think future employers will regard this experience highly, and I hope it assists me in my future career endeavours.
I would definitely recommend the internship program to future students. Learning about international public health in a classroom is one thing, but being immersed in a different culture whilst learning about health is invaluable. I am learning so much about health in the South East Asian region and making good friends at the same time.