It was an incredible experience working with these amazing and talented people. I always thought that internship would be boring because I’m just a freshman at the university, and I have no experience in working. I thought I was supposed to do work like organising files and making coffee for everyone (I know this sounds cliche, but that’s actually what I thought). On the contrary, the team taught me a lot and gave me the opportunity to bring my ideas into their work. I know that I am a person who would constantly pop up strange ideas, and they would discuss with me what they think of the concept. They would accept the ideas when they think they are doable and reasonable, which is something out of my expectations.
I was lucky enough to travel with them on a field trip to determine the project sites and partners for the future project. We have visited three sites, eight cities and eleven potential organisations. I was also able to visit seven families who are our potential beneficiaries.
What surprised me the most is that even with the interdisciplinary approach to motivate or convince the patients to come to the hospitals for treatment, there are still a large number of patients and their families who lack the awareness and the education to fully comprehend and understand how treating their eyes and restoring their sight can be extremely beneficially to both themselves and their families. And also at the same time, how the governmental insurance policy is holding back on the support to the patients with cataracts. So in the end, the development of a supportive eye health environment is crucial. On one hand, educating and explaining to the locals about eye health awareness. On the other hand, using the evidence we have already done in similar projects to prove to the government the economic efficiency of investing a small amount of money in helping with cataract could create a much larger economic benefit to not only the family, the county, but also the whole country.
I would say it was my honour to join this field trip and all the work we have been doing at the site, before the trip and after the trip are great opportunities for me to learn about how real-life non-governmental organisations operate. I have also understood how our work has been really been helping disadvantaged people.
From the bottom of my heart, I love this team for its talent and working atmosphere. They made me feel like I’m more than just an intern who can’t do anything. They accepted me for my sometimes unrealistic ideas and helped me to make those ideas approachable and doable. Working with this group of people has been my honour, and I honestly appreciate what they taught me.
Placement Site: ORBIS China, Shanghai