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KDIS students share their internship experience at the Asia Foundation

18 May, 2018 News Center 1,239

Over the winter break, ten KDIS students were sent across Asia for an international development experience to different country offices of The Asia Foundation (TAF).

Organized by the Development Research Center (DRC), the month-long KDIS-TAF Asia Development Internship Program aimed to expose students to a career in the international development sector through actual hands-on experience with the various projects undertaken by TAF.

TAF has operated in the continent for over 50 years, with offices in 18 countries, covering a wide range of program areas including Governance and Law, Women’s Empowerment, Development and Aid Effectiveness, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Regional Co-operation and Conflict Management, among many others.

After receiving many applications, potential intern candidates were screened through a panel interview, led by officials from KDIS-DRC and TAF-Korea. The selected interns were given the opportunity to work on the TAF programs that suited their interest and complemented their academic coursework at  KDIS.

This year, the interns were deployed to seven different TAF country offices: Minjae Song (2017 MDP, Korea) and Viktoriya Khan (2016 MPP, Uzbekistan) to Bangladesh, Tae Wan Shim (2017 MPP, Korea) to Cambodia, Suyeon Kang (2016 MPP, Korea) and Mpengula Ngane (2016 MDP, Zambia) to Malaysia, Hye Jin Cho (2016 MDP, Korea) and Astrid Celeste Cordova Pelayo (2016 MPP, Peru) to Mongolia, Sehee Kwak (2016 MDP, Korea) to Myanmar, Ranel Ram Cheng (2016 MPP, Philippines) to the Philippines,  and Khalilah Chelsie Hyde-Peyrefitte (2017 MPP, Belize) to Timor-Leste.

This has been the second time that KDIS partnered with TAF for this endeavor. There are plans currently on the way to hold the internship program more regularly.

Current KDIS students who are interested in taking part in future internship programs can contact Ms. Jieun Song from the Development Research Center at


Viktoriya Khan (MPP, Uzbekistan)

Promoting Community-Driven Early Warning Systems (EWS) to Reduce Religious Freedom Violations, Bangladesh Country Office

“My internship experience was amazing! I had a deeper understanding of development project arrangements, obtaining of funding, recruitment of specialists, technical facilitation and adaptation to the local context. I had a chance to go on a field trip to the project area and learn about finding the ways to motivate all the project participants for achieving a common goal. I realized the importance of learning on the spot and being open to challenges.”



Minjae Song (MDP, Korea)

Women’s Economic Empowerment through Strengthening Market System (WEESMS), Bangladesh Country Office

“I entered KDI School with the broad aspiration that I simply want to pursue ‘development studies’ but always felt pressured that I have to choose the specific sector I want to work for in the future. Even if I was always interested in gender issues, I had no relevant working or studying experience. Thus, having this opportunity was very fortunate and meaningful for me…  I could demonstrate how passionate I can become when it comes to working for women get empowered.”


Taewan Shim (MPP, Korea)

Women’s Empowerment, Cambodia Country Office

“My role as an intern was to conduct a small research on women’s roles in small and medium-sized businesses in Cambodia. From The Asia Foundation’s support, I had the chance to meet and interview various women business owners and people from the multilateral development banks and learned valuable lessons about development from their perspective. These experiences helped me to have a better understanding of development. “


Ngane Mpengula (MDP, Zambia)

Books for Asia Program, Malaysia Country Office

“The experience gained from working as well as observing how the team works and handles issues gives you the sense that actual experience on the ground cannot be replaced by academic experience… Through the interactions with the staff and actual ongoing programs, I can confidently say the Internship ignited a desire to work and contribute to institutions that work towards bettering the lives of others by offering solutions to some of the various problems. “


Suyeon Kang (MPP, Korea)

Malaysia Country Office

“It was good chance to learn planning and managing projects that involve various participants and logistics. Thanks to the considerate supervisor’s arrangement, I had a chance to join the meeting with a lawyer working for the indigenous people in Sabah state. From the meeting, I could indirectly but vividly learn the emergency and difficulties of the people in danger… The Foundation has been supportive of this work and trying to help the people without legal documentation.”


Astrid Cordova Pelayo (MPP, Peru)

Women Empowerment and Business Incubator Program, Mongolia Country Office

“When I arrived in Mongolia, it was the coldest season in the year (around -30°C), and this made the experience more extreme and interesting. Through different activities such as monitoring visits, workshops, and meetings, I was able to experience first-hand some of the current social issues and the measures to address them… I got involved in different stages of the projects which helped me to realize what I really want for the future: to be part of a team in an NGO either in my country or worldwide.”


Hyejin Cho (MDP, Korea)

Urban Governance Project (UGP), Mongolia Country Office

“Although my term overlapped with the end/beginning of the year, my team leader allowed me to participate and contribute to project at its maximum availability: attend ad hoc meeting with donor and sub-contractors, field test of the mobile application with two regions and university students, conduct interviews with public servants, and draft a human interest story. It was very helpful in terms of cross-check what we study in class and practical issue in the field.”


Sehee Kwak (MDP, Korea)

Urban Safety Team (Interagency Collaboration), Myanmar Country Office

“I helped in preparing presentation and report about interagency collaboration to solve urban safety problems in major cities… I visited Hpa-an, a city that had received support from The Asia Foundation on crime prevention process to reduce traffic accident and drug usage. The field trip was the most meaningful activity from the internship, because I could observe the process of negotiation between local government and development agency.”


Ranel Ram Cheng (MPP, Philippines)

Peace and Stability Team, Philippines Country Office

“This was my first experience working in an NGO setting, where I learned more about the conflict issues in my home country through research and monitoring the Peace Process in Mindanao. This was also a chance to share with fellow Filipinos some of the lessons I learned while studying in Korea. I also met new friends who share a passion for development.”


Khalilah Chelsie Hyde-Peyrefitte (MPP, Belize)

Ending Violence Against Women Program Team and Community Police Support Program (CPSP) Team, Timor-Leste Country Office

“My work took me to the districts where I observed training meetings and events. Despite my inability to speak Tetum, I always felt welcomed and included and even received a Tais (traditional Timorese cloth) from one of the Sucus (villages) I visited and from the TAF country office. Overall, I found the interpersonal connections that I made to be just as rewarding as the professional experience.”


By Ranel Ram CHENG (2016 MPP, Philippines)