I want to first talk about my two weeks’ experience in the United Nations. I did not really care about the latest news or international issues before, but whenever I saw the UN on TV, I could not help wondering: what is this place for? What kinds of meetings do people have inside? So, I joined this internship program not only because I can expand my horizons and improve my skills, such as in public speaking and debate, but solve problems as well. The first few days when I was in UN, I carefully observed everywhere and kept notes from meetings. The first session we attended about the SDGs in Conference Room 4 motivated me the most. There were delegates from each country, NGO, panelists, and discussants. Being in the huge conference room and listening to everyone speaking makes me feel that I was one of the members in their teams to change the world. I knew much clearer about the UN through meetings and talking to different people that it is a harmonious place without any discrimination or prejudice, and I feel really comfortable.
Through these sessions that I have attended, I was surprised to find out that many delegates were somewhat nervous when they were talking. Some of them did not finish their sentences in time, answer the right questions, or speak unclearly that the audience hardly understood them. It is the natural phenomenon, especially in formal situations, so it hints to me that there is no perfection even if you are in a very high position, studying and learning can never stop. The most important skill that I have learned is how to communicate and let professionals know you. English is not my first language, so before when I attended some meetings, I was afraid to ask professionals questions. But, here in the UN, the sense of equality in the whole building gave me the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone. People nicely heard me, and encouraged me to do things I want to do. Later on, I raised my hand in several conferences to ask questions. Naturally talking to professionals after meetings has become an easier thing for me. Besides, I think a very crucial change for me after this internship is that I have known myself more. I knew that I want to be in the world community, eliminate SDGs, and help others that need help. Although I am only a student, I saw many young people also devote their time in contributing to the whole society. So, I felt encouraged to find solutions and connect with others more to make our life better.
For the final project, Cynthia and I worked on child marriage, which is one of the major parts of SDG 5 gender equality. I have always thought that even though women have gained rights compared to decades before, the society still treats women more unequally than men mostly in the workplace, education, and human rights. Through meetings in the UN, I saw people, youth or adults, from various countries, and they all cared about improving the current situation. One of the severest issues globally for women and children is child marriage, so we decided to put our main focus on this issue. We did research on official websites and found out that though the situation is getting better, the social attitude is hard to change, and people also have to be concerned about uniqueness of specific areas, implementing what kinds of policies to prevent child marriage, etc. Child marriage is linked closely to poverty, education, and equality, so governments, women and men, and everyone in the society needs to realize the complexity of solving this issue. But, I am glad that many people have already decided to make the changes. They motivated me to examine myself more in daily life, and reflect as an individual, how to contribute to the whole world to be a more equal and better place.