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2020 Internship Report - LEE Chun Kit, Oscar

Name: LEE Chun Kit, Oscar

University: The University of Hong Kong (Major: China Development Studies; Politics and Public Administration)

Position: Intern, Monitoring and Evaluation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Duration: June 2020 – December 2020

Sponsorship: United Nations Peace Development Foundation

Supervisor: SUN Qian

My story at the United Nations begins in the summer of 2020.

It was an exciting morning, a short email, but I couldn't get over the fact that I had received an offer from the Monitoring and Evaluation Team of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The United Nations was the place I dreamed to work, and Beijing was the city I had always wanted to explore, so, till now, I still cherish the hard-won internship opportunity.

(UNDP China, Beijing)

My internship at the United Nations began in June 2020, and I initially had to work remotely from home due to the epidemic. My supervisor's name was Sun Qian, also known as Qian Ge, who is an efficient, responsible, and caring person. During the time I was working remotely, he took great care of me and was always concerned about my work progress and feelings. Although I have not been able to come to the office in person, he has provided me with a comprehensive training so that I can quickly familiarize myself with the operation of the team.

In August 2020, I went to Beijing to start my amazing journey. Due to the severe epidemic, I had to be quarantined for 14 days before I could get in the city. After the 14-day quarantine, I was finally free to breathe the fresh air in the streets. Compared to five years ago, the air quality in Beijing has improved greatly with a relieved haze situation. More important is that the Beijing government is so effective in controlling the epidemic that people don't even have to wear masks outdoors.

The day after the quarantine was completed, I went to the United Nations office building. It is located next to the Liangma River in the Beijing embassy area and is surrounded by a beautiful environment with many willow trees. The main building has three floors and contains several UN organizations, but most of the office areas belong to the UNDP; the secondary building is a conference room with a small garden just across the hall, where important public events and staff meetings are usually held.

(Liangma River, Beijing)

I started my work in the office in a comfortable working environment and got to experience the high intensity and fast paced working style of the monitoring and evaluation team. Our team had a large workload, but consisted of only Qian and two interns, so we were able to take a leading and active role in the team and directly contribute our efforts in many projects and tasks. Between August and December, under the guidance of the Deputy Resident Representative (Dev) and Qian, we monitored and evaluated the progress of all UNDP projects in China to ensure that they were running smoothly and in full compliance at every stage; we worked with different teams to carry out specific tasks as required by the UNDP headquarters and regional offices; provided support to all projects to mitigate potential risks. We also participated in business trips to project sites when necessary.

Due to the heavy workload, our team often needed to work overtime, but at the same time, our relationship has become close. We often went out for dinner, had various social events, and even went on a trip to Shangri-La in Yunnan in December.

During the internship, I not only broadened my horizon and gained working experience, but also made a group of lovely friends. The interns in the UNDP all sit in the same office, so we had a lot of opportunities to communicate and got to know each other. We often met up after lunch break or after work and hanged out together on weekends. Moreover, due to the unique nature of our team's work, I often had the opportunity to meet colleagues from other teams, which made my relationship with many colleagues close.

For the UN internship, I chose to take a semester break. However, I would not hesitate to say that it was worth it. I would recommend anyone who is interested in development to do an internship at the UN, as you will definitely gain deep insight into the sustainable development. It will be a life experience that is impossible to replace. Lastly, I would like to thank the UNPDF, the UNDP, Qian and all the friends and colleagues in the office. It will not be such a great time without you guys.

(From the right: SUN Qian, Luke and myself)


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