Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Voices of Youth Internship

By Sophavatey Leak 

This blog was developed as part of the Voices of Youth blogging internship assignment requirement. Views expressed here are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.


I found out about the Local Voices of Youth blogging internship through a Facebook post that my friend shared. Without much thought, I decided to apply just two days before the deadline and was luckily accepted. My internship started back in August. At that time, I did not know what to expect, as I would not normally share my writings to my even closest friends or family members. The only people who got  to see my writings were teachers who graded my papers or exam.

Never have I ever thought that I would share my intimate thoughts with so many people.

But now that this internship is coming to an end, it means that I would have to write about my feelings and stuff again, which I am equally not as good as when I was writing my introductory post. *I panicked a little bit inside again hahah.*

Here are what I took away from this Local VOY internship.

Meeting amazing fellow interns and coordinators

Through this internship, I met many great people who love words and writing just as much as I do or even more. They all have unique stories to tell and reading all their posts is almost like an eye-opening experience.

VOY feels like a safe place where our voices are nurtured. We don’t have to fear of not being good enough or being judged because everyone is accepting and supporting of one another’s journey.

The weekly meeting at the UNICEF building was always a blast because we got  to share and discuss our concerns and ideas. Our lovely coordinator, Sorita, did a great job in lifting up the mood of the discussions.  *A shout out to her as well haha. Thanks Sorita for giving me feedbacks and corrections on my still developing writing ability.

Experimenting, Experimenting, Experimenting

During my whole internship, I learned about different ways to write a post. I tried out quite a few styles ranging from a more lighthearted tone to a more neutral and formal one.

The most challenging article was my 5th post in which I wrote an Inspire profile in  Khmer . It was very nerve wracking and difficult for me as it was the first time in my entire life to write an essay in Khmer that was not for an exam. I did get out of my comfort zone there but I’m glad I did it.

A Journey of Self-exploration

I learned that writers need to have a voice. Especially when you have to come up with an idea or topic to write each week. This has taught me to keep my eyes open to things that are happening around me and actively ask questions and become curious about them. This experience opened my eyes to things surrounding me that I have neglected or have not been paying much attention to before.

I learned how important it is to convey your message and voice to others effectively through writing as a form of communication.
To wrap up, I would like to thank UNICEF Cambodia for taking this initiative to allow Cambodian youth to express their thoughts and concerns on issues happening in our society. The internship has created a group of critical thinkers and writers. It has been a fruitful and knowledgeable experience. I have discovered my voice and will continue to put effort into my journey.

I really encourage and urge youths to speak out more and stand up for a cause they believe in. Your VOICES matter!

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