Center for Diversity and National Harmony
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Nay Min

Major: Political Science
Minor: Economics
Hometown: New York City, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience through an older friend who has some of the same interests as I do. I asked him to recommend a few internship opportunities while I was also looking for them online. One of the internships that he recommended stood out so I applied for it. After a long application process, I was excited to learn that I was selected as their intern.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I interned at a research department of a local NGO whose mission is to enhance social harmony and mitigate ethnic violence in Myanmar: a country with 135 ethnic groups and stricken by the longest and ongoing ethnic conflicts in the world. At CDNH, I not only had a chance to contribute to the publication of a peace assessment of Myanmar through desk research, but also had a chance to assist in the accomplishment of a research methodology training for a group of young people from all over Myanmar. In addition, I was able to travel to the northern part of Rakhine State, the hearth of communal violence between Arakanese majority and Muslim minority, to access the migration situation through survey interviews and in-depth interviews. The whole experience was life-changing, especially the month that I spent in Rakhine state talking with people from both the Arakanese and Muslim communities.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It is one thing to learn political science in class, but it is a whole another experience to interact and talk with the people who are experiencing the topics- such as ethnic conflicts- that you are covering in class. Such an experience changed the way I think in a way that I have started to value the political education way more than I ever had. In another word, I now understand that political science is much more than just interesting theories and arguments. It can have a tangible impact on many people. Furthermore, political science education or education in general are things that can change people’s lives. For instance, Rakhine is the second poorest state in Myanmar with 73% poverty rate and access to education can reduce it drastically.

Such an experience changed the way I think in a way that I have started to value the political education way more than I ever had.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have an interest in politics, economics, history, and the law of Myanmar, but I was unsure how to learn more about it besides reading the news, scientific papers, and books on the country. This experience had given me the opportunity to learn about the country in a more intimate way and that had definitely shaped my plans for the future. I would like to study comparative constitutional law eventually, but during the few years I will take off after college, I would like to go back and work on a serious and impactful issue facing the people of Myanmar, whether at an NGO or a governmental organization.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I recommend this experience to those who are passionate about the country and the immensely interesting issues facing it. Myanmar is a whole different world compare to the US, and you will only be able to immerse in it only if you care about it.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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