Get that gig: UNICEF Myanmar
Wondering how to get started working in the field? Struggling with not enough experience but eager to cut your teeth at a premier international organisation? The “Get that Gig” series explores unadvertised positions at international institutions around the world, with tips from those who’ve already moved to that country on succeeding in a very foreign environment, and the tools you need to succeed with your application via Insider Connections.
A few years ago, Myanmar hit the tourist radar with force, prompting lots of articles about hiking the north of this tropical country close to India and Thailand, and sitting down for cheap beers in its capital, Yangon.
But along with the recent burst in tourism comes increased attention to the country’s social issues, and more specifically, its most vulnerable.
The U.N. has been working in Myanmar since before it became cool to visit the country, and is hiring a paid intern to join their staff in the new year. Read on to learn about how you can kickstart your career at this child-focused organisation:
About the organisation:
UNICEF has been working in Myanmar continuously since April 1950. Despite difficult political and economic circumstances, UNICEF helped to successfully initiate programmes to protect children against small pox, leprosy and yaws. Over time, UNICEF expanded its programs to support the development of rural health services, basic education for children, and community water supply and sanitation systems.
On being intellectually curious:
“‘How’ and ‘Why’ are among your favourite words, and you are always looking to understand what works, and what doesn’t, to help transform international development. You have a desire to help UNICEF Myanmar and its partners to do their work better for children, and deliver the evidence they need to improve the programmes that they deliver. This includes excellent listening and communication skills and the ability to learn and share knowledge.”
– UNICEF Myanmar
On learning to adapt:
“…rental is expensive for expats in Yangon but the quality of apartments is rather poor. As the infrastructure is not advanced, there are power cuts, interrupted access to water supply and other issues. I had to learn to manage such issues and to set up my apartment with whatever I needed. It helped that I made a few friends who were of great help.”
– Shane Neubronner, from Singapore
On working with the past:
“Those who succeed in Myanmar must have their “eye on the bigger picture,” dealing with short-term discomforts and the peculiarities of a country awakening from fifty years of isolation.”
– Jonathan Harvey, from the U.K.
“…there are no muggings, it is completely safe to walk alone at night and you can leave your shoes outside your house knowing they will be there in the morning. Even if you forget a bag, keys or phone somewhere public it’s likely they’ll get returned to you.”
– Gaston Baquet, from Chile.
They won’t give you hateful stares:
“When visitors look just the slightest bit lost, locals are known to come running in hope of offering a helping hand. Many locals will often approach visitors just in hope of practising their English. No scams, no tricks: just friendly Myanmarese looking to chat.”
– Kelly Iverson
It’s not that remote:
“Yangon is not the ‘wild west’: there are enough shops/restaurants and cinemas to make your stay more than comfortable. Although you shouldn’t expect wine, caviar and toast points, there are enough shops, restaurants and cinemas to make an unadventurous expat happy.”
– Giles Dickenson-Jones, from Australia