Name of the intern: – Ashwini
Institute: – Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University
Organization interned with: – Centre for Environment Education
It is my belief that whatever your field of work might be, an exposure or internship with an environmental organization is of the utmost importance. It teaches you the environmental aspect of your discipline. So I, an International Relations major in my 3rd year of study decided to intern with an NGO in Pune called the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) along with a friend, Chehek.
The CEE office is located in Aundh, Pune. Chehek and I were given an apartment by CEE one floor below the office. It was a beautiful ground-floor apartment with a little garden at the back. The only problem — there was no connection for cooking gas. So, for the whole one month period, our living room table was filled with take-out menus of different restaurants.
On the first day of the internship, we were assigned to work for a project under one of the senior interns from Germany. The senior intern, Isabel Melhmann, had to prepare a workshop module on urbanization. The module had several components and I was delegated the task of preparing PowerPoint presentations and write-ups on the issue “Infrastructure, Transport and its Effect on Urbanization”. Since it was global urbanization, I got to relate it to my field of interest, International Relations. I did case studies of transportation in Brazil, Copenhagen and others.
Also, close to the CEE office is Baner Hill. It is basically one of the “lungs” of Pune city where people come for morning walks or weekend treks. Baner Hill is well known for its plantation drives, where locals come in groups and plant trees. It was reported to CEE that the number of trees initially planted was reducing to a great extent and the groups wanted to know the exact number of trees present in Baner Hill. The job came to us interns, and 5 of us went to Baner Hill every morning and counted the number of trees there using technology such as GPS system as well as a lot of manual labour. Within 2 weeks, we had covered the entire area and declared that there were 4250 trees (estimated). This was an excellent team building exercise for all of us.
The work environment was interactive and conducive to learning. There was another senior intern, Mara, from Germany. In our free time she taught us German. I also learned to ride a motorcycle, a super important skill necessary to survive in a city like Pune. ;) My internship couldn’t have been at a better time. In my first week at work, World Environment Day was to be celebrated (June 6) and CEE was asked to put up workshops at various schools to educate children about the environment. CEE Pune has two educative buses which are decorated from the inside with informative posters and models of different ecosystems. Armed with these buses and many games and exercises we went to these schools. We got the students to prepare an energy audit for their school by counting the number of light bulbs, fans, etc. and checking which of them were functional and such. We also addressed a group of 3rd and 4th grade students and played a fun game of environmental snakes and ladders where they had to tell everyone something they did every day. If their activity was an environment friendly activity, they could go up the ladder; if it wasn’t they had to come down the snake. Interacting with the school kids was the best part of my internship. At this one school, kids had to recognize the name of birds by listening to their call and seeing the picture of the bird. So when a picture of a kingfisher came up, a little boy yelled “I’ve seen this bird!” I asked him, “Where?” He said, “At the airport”. He was referring to the airline. It made me so happy to know that kids these days were thinking out of the box. There were so many such incidences with the kids that if I started to list everything down, this write-up will be unending. Meeting these school kids was, hands down, the best experience if this entire internship. I got to take back memories and learning that will be with me all my life. Overall, mine was a satisfying experience; satisfying in the sense that at the end of the internship, I had this amazing feeling of contentmentвЂ¦ like I had done my part. The only depressing part of this entire stint was the gastritis that I got at the end because of all the outside food that I ate. But that was a small price to pay for everything else that the internship gave me.
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