Hi, everyone! I’m Ian from the Philippines and I am currently doing my internship with Room to Read in India. I am working with the Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation team. I am spending 6 weeks with the India Country Office (INCO) and 5 weeks with the Global Office (GO).

My experience of New Delhi reminds me so much of home. There are a lot of people walking in the streets, children playing in the parks, fruit and vegetable stands in the neighborhoods, and many more! Back in the Philippines, I would sometimes wake up to roosters crowing, but here, I would wake up to peacocks screaming (according to my quick Google search, that’s really the sound that peacocks make. Haha!). I always look forward to seeing the enchanting beauty of the peacocks right outside the house where I’m staying.

A common mode of transport here is the auto rickshaw, which is similar to the tricycles back home. Six people can fit inside the vehicle, including the driver. I must say, the auto rickshaws are more comfortable than tricycles. Because I do not speak nor understand Hindi, I got lost a couple of times when I took the auto rickshaw going from the metro station to my Airbnb. Thanks to the ever reliable Google Maps, I was able to find my way back home.

Indian food is really tasty and I was actually vegetarian for 5 days! A lot of people in India are vegetarian so there are always vegetarian options. If you want to go vegetarian, India is the place for you! I love spicy food and a lot of Indian dishes are spicy so my tummy is always happy. There are also a few food delivery apps that make it convenient to get food, especially when you just want to stay at home.

The best way to beat the summer heat is to drink coconut water!

There are moments when I forget that I am here for internship and not for vacation (but I hope to do touristy activities on weekends!)… Time to talk about that! The day before my internship started, I decided to do a test run of how I would get to work. I was staying at an Airbnb that is walking distance from the metro station (I am in a different place now, but still near the metro station), so I braved the afternoon heat and went to Room to Read’s office.

I decided to get a metro card. Interesting fact, if you take the metro during off-peak hours, you get a discount!

It took me around 40 minutes to get to the building. The metro ride was very comfortable, especially because the air-condition was a good break from the summer heat in New Delhi that averages at 42° C. After my short trip, I decided to go back to my Airbnb and just rest before the big first day.

On my first day, I was an hour early because I was afraid of being late even if I already did a test run the day before! Haha! Work started with an orientation by the RM&E team. They were very welcoming and accommodating of the million questions that I had. After the big orientation, I had a meeting with some members of the team to give more information about what they do and how RM&E is done there. I was also asked to read evaluation reports and examine data sets. I really enjoyed doing those because it gave me a better understanding of Room to Read’s Literacy Program (LP) and Girls’ Education Program (GEP).

My first deliverable was a monthly monitoring report of the Literacy Program. Seeing the wealth of monitoring data made my M&E heart smile because there is a usual tendency for the monitoring piece to be overlooked. I was also tasked to create infographics of evaluation reports and luckily, I was able to practice my design skills because of the policy brief! I am also happy to say that my classes have been very useful for the work that I do. The evaluation report that I had to turn into an infographic used a quasi-experimental design and I was able to understand that fully because of my quasi-experimental design class and M&E classes.

My work week ended with a storytelling session that is held monthly for the staff and their children. The staff member who led the session gave an interesting twist to Snow White’s story because it was a narration of her stepmother. Wait. Did Snow White have a stepmother? Haha! Now I’m also confused, but the point is, I enjoyed that storytelling session.

So far, I have been enjoying every moment that I am here and I am looking forward to more exciting experiences in the coming weeks! That’s it for now! Thanks for reading my first blog entry and let me know what you think in the comments section!

Summer is mango season! Yum!

P.S. I’m trying my best to vlog my experiences here so please watch my first vlog by clicking here! Do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and click that notification bell!