Name: TANG Tun Yu
Bachelor of Science, Majoring in Mathematics and Philosophy
The University of Hong Kong
Position: Intern, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific-Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (ESCAP-CSAM)
Duration: August 2019 – October 2019 (2 months)
Sponsorship: United Nations Peace Development Foundation
Supervisor: Macro Silvestri
In the last two months, it was grateful for me to have a chance to work at Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (CSAM, UNESCAP) as an intern. I am so thankful for this extraordinary opportunity. I would like to express my appreciation to UNPDF, CSAM, The University of Hong Kong, my colleagues at CSAM and all the other people I have met during the internship. This internship would not be possible to me without them. Working in part of the United Nations has been such a valuable experience that I would never forget in my life. In these two months, I learned so much and had a better understanding of the United Nations system and the Beijing city.
During these two months internship, my major responsibility was to assist the data management system for agricultural data and the data visualization process under the supervision of my supervisor Marco Silvestri. This duty took about half of my total working hours. In the remaining time, I have been helping in different variety of duties, including administrative tasks, event organizations and website development.
The aim of the data management task is to create an open-sourced and clear data visualization dashboard of the agricultural data for public. So, the public can easily acquire trends or other insights related to the agriculture environment. Actually, the agricultural database available now is quite underdeveloped. These was a report agreed by the experts around the world regarding the schema and requirements of the database several years ago. These designs of the database require some modification if we want to produce an effective data processing pipeline where data from the database could automatically flow to the dashboard. I have also built the dashboard from scratch and successfully embedded the dashboard in our current website.
Other than the information technology related works, different agricultural mechanization events are the focus of CSAM. For the 6th annual meeting of ANTAM, China Robot Competition, Integrated Straw Management Regional Study Tour in India and the 5th Member Meeting of ReCAMA, I had to contact and verify with the participants, to demand itineraries and e-tickets from the travel agency and to send travel requests. I recognized the importance of the preparatory works of holding an international event. I am also glad that on the Umoja platform I learned how to handle different tasks because this is the standard platform to use among different office in United Nations. Effective communications and team works are essential in finishing these tasks because there are often a lot of participants in one event. We usually disturb the works into different parts for several colleagues to finish them separately. Informing the colleagues properly and confirm the procedures of doing these tasks are the most important techniques I realized for finishing the tasks smoothly.
During the preparation works, I was also responsible for the communication with participants in different countries, including Russia, India, Cambodia, Nepal, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Mongolia. I have not thought about it would be so complicated to contact people from the other countries. I have to consider the other time zones of different countries so that I can call the participants in an appropriate time for them. Also, in some underdeveloped countries, the telephone connection there may be as good as what we are used to have. It is quite comm
on that I had to keep calling one participant for several days until I can reach to him. Moreover, as the United Nations is a multi-international organization, communicating with people from different countries are one of our daily jobs. I thought that English is the most important language and the proficiency in English would be enough for me to communicate with all the people around the world. However, during the two months, I realized that there are huge benefits to be familiar with different kinds of languages. For example, when we are going to contact participants in Russia, Yana, one of our colleagues from Russia, would always be helpful and have better communicating in Russian. It is normal that people communicate and understand better with their home languages. Even in English, there are many different accents and we would need some time to get familiar with them. Apart from verbal ability, I have been asked to translate documents like vendor contracts, research paper and event reports, which I did not have any translating experience before. It was a good opportunity for me to try and I learnt a lot in this aspect.
Out of my work, it was my pleasures to explore more about the Beijing city. Our office is located near the area where the consulates of different countries around the world in Beijing are based on. Therefore, there are a lot of delicious food of different cultures around this area. Under the guidance of my senior colleagues and other interns, I have explored some local places and had some special local snacks in Beijing, which I probably would never get the chance to try if I were to come for travel. One of the most precious returns for this internship is to know friends and make connections with people all over the world. Some of us are still contacting and we are going to be life-long friends.
Generally, in this internship, I am so grateful for the lessons I learnt and the people I met. I really appreciate that the UNPDF have taken the initiative to connect the regional office of United Nations, the Universities and the students to make all of these happened. The financial aid was so vital also as most of the internship in United Nations are not paid and the living cost is quite expensive in Beijing. I would suggest this great opportunity to my friends and hope that more and more people could get a chance to intern at parts of the United Nations.