Hello friends! After taking a lovely break home with the family post-fake graduation, I have since started GK’s Migration course for the summer before I head out to my internship in July. I thought I’d give you an update on what it’s like to be at GSE during the summer, as well as a head’s up on what I’ll be doing for my internship.

It does feel a bit strange to know that two-thirds of your cohort are either home or already on their internships, though at the same time, still having a contingent of IEDPers taking summer courses with me both provides a comfort and maintains this sense that I still have more time with the program than reality says. (Also, I get to do fun things like go salsa dancing with them, so that’s a bonus.) Campus is, naturally, quieter as well, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing. If anything, I like how “chill” this summer session is, if not entirely because of the comparatively easy reading and assignments we have to do. I don’t mean easy in the intellectually-stimulating sense, but rather in time consumption; when you go from taking five classes and working three different jobs to one class with three (though waning) jobs, it feels like you have all the time in the world to get stuff done. Most importantly, I’ve already gotten good vibes from Dr. GK’s class, and I’m excited to learn more about the topic of migration and how my interests operate within them.

All of this free time has also given me more opportunities to prepare for my internship. This summer, I’ll be working with ActionAid in Cambodia. Not only am I thrilled to be returning to Southeast Asia, I also look forward to working with ActionAid specifically. I admire a lot of the work that they do and the way they approach their work. My tasks will specifically center on its Promoting Rights in Schools (PRS) framework, which aims to ensure that children equally enjoy their right to quality public education. It looks like I’ll be working on case studies on how PRS is implemented in five different provinces around Cambodia, which means I’ll be traveling around and observing schools. I’m certainly excited to doing fieldwork for this internship as opposed to sitting in front of a desk the entire time (though I’m not saying that’s what other interns do).

However, my lack of Khmer skills does worry me, in that I might promote this negative image of the outsider requiring communities to cater to her needs or something like that. Nor do I want to be ineffective at my work because of communication barriers. While I am trying to get some basic understanding of Khmer before I leave, I do recognize that a) there’s no way I’d be perfect at the language by the time I leave, and therefore b) these concerns will probably arise regardless. I guess I’m trying to minimize their impact as much as possible. I’m also trying to plan exactly how I can engage with this organization, its work, and the communities with which they work in responsible ways.

Happily for you all, you can follow my internship on this blog, as one of the requirements for the internship is to maintain one while you’re working. I’ll try to see if I can post a list of other IEDP student blogs for your reading/viewing pleasure too. So, stay tuned for that, and more!