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One month and a half-experience working in education unit of CDRI

Ms. Heng Sambath, EDU intern

When I reached the age of entering university, I was in a dilemma, not knowing what major to
take, but after I had already decided what to study, I found it hard to do two bachelors courses at the
same time. I often complained when many tasks were assigned and often procrastinated. Not long
after, I asked myself, could I avoid from all the tasks? At once one question kept running in my
head what do I gain if I do not finish school tasks. With this question in mind, I was determined
and could win my laziness and procrastination, and eventually graduated from one of my universities
(Royal University of Law and Economics) successfully. However, when it comes to working life, it
is even harder to find a proper job that really fits with and satisfies ones interest because choosing a
job or a career path is the most important and hardest decision in life. One will face many obstacles,
difficulties, and failures if one cannot do what one loves; it is even worse if one does not know what
he or she wants to do. Luckily, I dont considered myself to be one in such situation since I am
perfectly clear that I know what I love to do and what is much luckier is that I am able to do it. In the
following paragraphs, I will describe the reasons why I like my job and what I have learnt from it.

I am suitable to work in the field of research because I love to visit different places, to
communicate with people, and to gain more experiences from working on various tasks. Looking for
many places that fit my preference, I finally found one, CDRI. Working in CDRI makes me feel
different comparing to that in other places I have experienced before. One of the major reasons I love
about working is collegiality. Everyone here is so friendly and helpful; he or she always smiles at me,
talks to me, and helps me whenever I need a favor. One of my unforgettable experiences was in the
first week of my internship. I was assigned to prepare formal letters including printing addresses on
envelopes. I was not familiar working with the paper letter, with the printer, and especially with the
format of appropriate word used on that letter. I wouldnt have finished my tasks on time without the
help from my seniors and team. I was amazed that, rather than blaming me, my seniors was supporting
me with kindness and patience.

Along with this, having time for self-development is what I value about working here. In the world
of work, it is crystal clear that the main purpose of work is making money; workers think of working
as how to earn money weekly or monthly; while bosses think of gaining profit as much as possible.
However, after starting my internship, my perception on the meaning of work has completely
changed. Every day, never do I feel I am working. Rather, I am learning. I have always been
encouraged and motivated by all my seniors in the Education Unit to read what I like and what are
related to education. I have been told many times to spend at least one hour out of eight working
hours to read books, articles, journals, or other relevant papers. I was so delighted that I am not forced
to work the whole eight hours a day. Despite of all the tasks assigned for me to finish, I can have one-
hour studying. What a deal!

Finally yet importantly, the thing I love from here is being respectful to everyone. There is no blaming
in this place. Whenever I do not know how to do something, or whenever I do something wrong,
never do my seniors scold me but they sincerely correct me, teach me and discuss within the whole
team instead. A time that I did not have my task done well is when I was asked to translate the letter
to Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MLVT) from Khmer to English. Honestly, knowing

English language does not mean knowing how to translate correctly and acceptably. Nonetheless,
after I submitted what I have done, I was not scolded but my senior corrected my work and gave
advice to me related to the task. In short what I like best about my workplace are friendly and helpful
colleagues, time and space for self-development, and dominance of support and absence of blame
and finger-pointing.

Anyway, let me now talk about what I have done and learnt within this previous month
working in the Education Unit of CDRI. Working here around one month and a half is just a blink of
an eye but what I have leant cannot be completely described. The first thing I do every day is
administrative work. Some people take it for granted for they believe administrative work is not
important, but when people come to work in that field, people will clearly see how difficult it is if
they have never done before. The administrative tasks I have been taught and done are how to scan
papers, to make photocopy, to book rooms and cars, and to manage the documents properly. These
tasks are really needed to be done daily in the office and are necessary to ensure a smooth operation
of our research activities.

The second thing I have learnt is to transcribe the records related to particular topics. Nowadays, one
of the topics we are working on is Internationalization of Higher Education; we try at this first stage
to understand the concept of internationalization by interviewing different highly-positioned people
who have lots of experiences working in various universities in Cambodia. I was assigned to translate
the voice records of the interviews with those people from Khmer to English language. Working with
those records makes my English, especially my writing skill, improve since I have to construct
different sentences based on what the interviewees said. At the same time, I am also learning how to
deal with different people through phone calling. I have been taught to talk properly and politely with
people whom I have never known to ask them to participate in our survey.

What is more significant that I have learnt is from reading club or reading circle. To help improve the
knowledge of all staff working in especially the Education Unit to gain more knowledge, reading club
or reading circle is normally conducted twice a month. We choose papers on some topics or ideas
which we think are useful and worth spreading, and focus our discussion and reflection on those
topics. Last but not least, the precious knowledge that I have gained is knowing the process of data
collection. There are many steps in the research process and data collection is an important one. I am
so happy to be involved in this process since I learn not only from my seniors experiences in doing
survey but also from different participants joining the survey.

In the nutshell, spending this one and a half month, I do feel comfortable working here and I
strongly hope to gain more priceless experiences during my whole internship.