August 13, 2013


Ariane Combal-Weiss, student, spent twelve days working in the communication department at InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia in Phnom Penh. Here is what she thinks of her internship.

Before this internship, I have never been fortunate enough to experience the world of work. The knowledge I could retrieve from high school and university has always seemed very theoretical to me, even though it interested and inspired me. Academic knowledge is useful as long as you know what you want to do with it. What I needed was to develop a practical application of my academic knowledge.

I have learned a lot on myself from the internship in the communication services at InSTEDD. I’ve realized that I felt truly interested and involved in the journalist’s assignments, such as looking for information required for articles, as well as writing articles. Understanding complex systems like Data Integration took some time, but I really enjoyed investigating them.

For instance, I had the opportunity to interview someone. I had never done it before and it was a bit of an experiment to go to Family Health International (FHI) to interview Mr. Len Aynar on the TB Lab Alert-Result System for the blog post. The interview took place in the best conditions; I was really enthusiastic about asking and collecting the information that I needed. Nevertheless, the communication wasn’t always smooth, and this was due to some linguistic difficulties. I thus experienced the collaboration with people from other countries. This kind of collaboration was sometimes difficult, because of the cultural differences that could exist.

Ariane COMBAL-WEISS (right) during interview with Family Health International (FHI), Mr. Len Aynar (left)
Working in English was a bit of a challenge for me as I had never done it before. Looking for the right word in a foreign language is enriching and allows you to improve your skills. The exercise encompasses writing, as well as exchanging ideas on the blog posts. I realized that I was more fluent in English  than I had thought.

Besides, as an internship helps to find one’s feet in the world of work, this experience invited me to gain confidence in my work and to take initiatives.

This internship has enabled me to discover the relationships at work. I felt really well with  the members of the team at InSTEDD, they were very nice colleagues and commensals ( we had several lunches together).

I also found out about some team management tools and how to galvanize a group. Every day at 9am, we stood in a circle and each of us had to talk about his achievements of the previous day, his difficulties if he had some, and the goals of the very day. I found this ritual useful in the motivation of the team. Each of us could see the work progress and it incited us to do our best during the day.

Last but not least, this full-time internship allowed me to do daily exercise ! As I was living in the Chamkarmon district, I had the pleasure to walk 30 minutes to the office. It kept me in shape !

Thank you !
Group photo with team InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia.


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