Internship Report Philipp Becker

My internship from November 2020 to February 2021

Greeting everyone, my name is Philipp, I’m studying politics and public administration at the university of Konstanz in South-West-Germany and I decided to do my practical semester at the Cambodia office of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. This is a short report about my experience and why I had such a great time at KAS Cambodia.

I have come to known Konrad Adenauer Stiftung back in Germany through a scholarship opportunity. As I have always enjoyed their workshops and seminars I was very interested to find out more about the foundation’s work abroad. And while my initial plan of joining the team for three months starting in May 2020 was disrupted by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, I was given the opportunity to reschedule my internship to November, the same year. Now, three months later I need to admit that I am reluctant to leave after all. Why? KAS not only implements great projects in Cambodia but the entire team is dedicated to getting you involved, enabling you to have great experiences and making you realize your potential.

My responsibilities at KAS

As someone who is always interested in making the most of an experience, I got involved in a lot of projects. My biggest responsibility came, however, with taking an active part in the editing process of KAS publications. Since I always enjoyed doing research at university I am thankful for the opportunity of getting my own ideas involved, leading to the production of my own little paper. Apart from researching, I was able to work on the planning and implementation of training programs and scholarships. Since I have participated in programs similar to KAS PEA or KAS Horizon myself back in Germany as a participant, this was an eye-opening experience as to how much effort is put into making these events interesting, fun and an opportunity for growth as an organizer.

KAS in Cambodia

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Cambodia inhibits a great, open office space which allows for real teamwork to happen. During my internship I had the great pleasure of working together with an inspiring team of young changemakers who truly care about what they are doing. I need to admit that when applying for this internship back in early 2020, I was unsure about the working environment that was awaiting me. Having heard experiences from hierarchically organized think tank organizations, entrusting their interns with little more than preparing coffee, I was somewhat afraid of having a similar experience, especially 8.000 kilometers away from home. I am happy to tell you that the reality at KAS could not be further away from that. Since my first day, I was welcomed warmly by everyone and challenging tasks pushed me to improving my abilities further. The good cooperation among the team will enable you to discuss every idea you have and maybe implement some of them.

What I learned at KAS Cambodia

This is a difficult question for me to answer in a short sentence as I feel like I indeed learned quite a lot from this experience. Not only was I able to experience a country and its culture so different from where I grew up and every place I lived in before, but I’ve also gotten to grow professionally. How do you get a scholarship program to work - with over 20 participants, all of whom are individual in their personality and experience? What is the process behind a high-quality publication from inception to final accounting? How can good relations with our target groups be established? These are some of the questions, I had to tackle throughout my internship and I am sure that the things I learned - establishing a connection between participants through teamworking, working closely with authors and editors and tailoring every project to its target group - will accompany me throughout my professional career.

If you are motivated to make Cambodia a better place by getting engaged in a think tank whose activities have a real impact, I can only give you one advice: Apply for an internship at KAS. Be warned however, that you might end up not wanting to leave after just three months.

Praktikant Philipp Becker