Student Volunteer: Dhamma Kimpara
School: ISB (International School of Bangkok)
Event: Internship during June 10-20, 2013
I came to be an intern at Operation Smile Thailand through my schools’ summer internship program. I chose this out of all the other choices because I wanted to do something that wouldn’t be just shadowing a doctor or taking a glorified tour around the office or sitting at an office cubicle all day. I wanted to be out and about doing things, with a mix of office work, and at all times, challenging myself. I expected Operation Smile to be run out of a tiny office in the middle of nowhere in some random old building. Also I expected to be out running errands and knocking on doors to ask for donations, doing random things that my boss told me to do. All of these things I expected a challenge out of. I like to live by the quote:
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
Thus a challenge was what I was looking for, and a challenge was what I got. Contrary to my expectations, at my interview, I wasn’t set to specific tasks but I was given freedom to think of my own ideas to solve issues that the organization was facing. The location was in another companies’ office. It was in the back of the office of a company, which, one of Operation Smile Thailand’s board member’s is the CEO of. Situated near BTS Chidlom, this office was pretty modern and intimidating (for a high schooler), full of business-people types and was in a ‘prestigious’ location near central world. It was not what I expected. I sat next to the printer and coffee machine at the office, which is what I imagine, is the stereotypical intern’s cubicle position.
Given freedom, I did many things. I researched the community service opportunities in different international schools, I researched corporations that could potentially sponsor the organization, I visited an international school to present operation smile, I worked for two days with a biomedical engineer to test and certify hospital equipment, I did corporate blitzes around the office building, I edited and updated a flyer and brochure in Japanese for operation smile, I went to different companies to present operation smile, I traveled around Bangkok on my own, and I probably did many more things which I have forgotten but all these experiences make this internship worthwhile. I plan to continue my participation through the summer as a personal project of mine.
The internship was in short, awesome. I got to experience the many different aspects of the organization and exposure to many different fields. The time spent with the biomedical engineer may have helped me choose my future area of study and what I want to do in the future. The whole experience was a challenge for me, especially doing phone calls and presentations to different companies and schools. My comfort zone was definitely stretched and I definitely had lots of fun doing it. Most of all, knowing that my work would help children was a great motivator and kept me going through these two weeks. Of course, my work doesn't stop here. After my official internship, I plan to continue coming in to the office on a few days and helping out where I can.