This year saw our internship programme go international, with students having the opportunity to do work experience in eight countries on three continents.

Ahmed Ismail was given the chance to work at the United Nations in New York for one month, with the delegation of the Maldives.  He was fortunate to be there during the 70th session of the General Assembly and spent his time shadowing diplomats and helping to write speeches.

Several other students interested in international relations, politics and social policy were also able to do internships with their governments.  Virul Abeygunawardane spent three weeks at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, helping to deal with the aftermath of Brexit and Theresa May becoming Prime Minister, as well as playing some cricket for the embassy team.  Both Lu u Lua Mohamed and Nur Shamun worked in government ministries in Malé: Lu u Lua in the Foreign Ministry for four weeks, organising meetings and writing letters, and Nur in the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Environment and Energy on its ‘Strengthening Low Carbon Energy Island Strategies’ project. Arpana Giritharan worked for ten days at the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, which is part of the process that is leading up to the establishment of an Office of Missing Persons.  As well as attending the meetings, her role involved research and organising focus groups.

Anjali Attygalle was given a wonderful opportunity to work in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the top universities in the world.  She assisted with research on the feeding patterns of Bombardier beetles.  In a similar field, Shenali Wijesinghe worked at Bureau Veritas for one week, testing clothes for PH levels and potentially carcinogenic formaldehyde, while both both Vinati Mollidoda and Prashan Jayawardena worked at Genetech in Colombo.  Ijas Ahamed was able to pursue his interest in engineering by working for one month for the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau on a construction site in Ampara.

Creative industries remain very popular with our students.  Mohamed Ismail worked at an architects’ studio in Singapore on a project to renovate a community centre.  Burhanuddine Jafferjee worked for 3 weeks in advertising, at Grant McCann Erickson.  Sharanja De Zoysa pursued her interest in architecture and interior design by working with Murad Ismail and Annika Fernando, assisting on a house in Galle and hotel in Balapitiya.  Sophia Sansoni did work experience at the LT (or Leisure Times), including writing articles on the frescoes at Sigiriya and the Ajanta Caves, and on handloom.  Akash Gnanam’s interests lie in web design and graphics so he worked at 3CS creating web templates and Facebook ads, and editing photos.  In a similar area, Anjali Mathews drew pictures to use in videos for well-known Sri Lankan website Yamu, and Jithvan Ariyaratne redesigned the website for Sarvodaya.

Felix Deemer spent 5 weeks in Beijing, working at the Stanford University Center at Beijing University and living with a Chinese family.  He was taken to work on his first day by a former teacher at the university who had also been his grandfather’s Chinese teacher.  Felix has been learning Chinese for several years and lived with the family of the Deemers’ former driver who only spoke Chinese, so he had no option but to speak Chinese all the time.  Felix spent much of his time working with Stanford’s Asian Liver Center on an awareness campaign for World Hepatitis Day including celebrities like Jackie Chan.  One in ten Chinese have Hepatitis B, which is a major cause of liver cancer.

Tarik Conrad and Amaan Kulatunga did work experience at the Four Seasons in the Maldives for four weeks, splitting their time between the kitchen and housekeeping.  As well as a lot of hard work, they were able to enjoy many of the activities offered by the hotel on their days off, such as diving and visiting other islands, as well as play in some very competitive inter-hotel volleyball games.  After experiencing how some guests treat hotel staff, they are sure to treat employees with greater respect next time they stay in a hotel.

As well as internships, many of our students also made a positive contribution to their local community by volunteering with charities and NGOs.  Min Suk Son worked with The Lost Ministry for one month, teaching English and Maths to children aged 5 to 15 who had been abandoned by their parents or whose parents were in prison.  Won Jae Choi worked for four weeks at the Korean Federation of Environmental Movement, which is part of Friends of the Earth, in Seoul.  He also took part in protests against Oxy, a subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser, whose dehumidifier disinfectant has been blamed for over 100 deaths in South Korea.  Vinati Molligoda helped out at NEST, a community-based mental health organisation, which included working with children at The National Institute of Mental Health, Angoda; the Half Way Home in Mulleriyawa and Lady Ridgeway Hospital. Ammaar Careem volunteered at The Chitra Lane School of the Special Child for three weeks, helping the teachers with children aged 10 to 16.  Ramudi Samarasekera assisted at Chibby’s Friends / House of Hope, an NGO that helps under-privileged children with chronic diseases or who need expensive surgery.  Ramudi helped with fundraising for Project Lifeline, which provides nutritional support to HIV-positive children.

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