M2 Internship: Eliza Zahirovic

Eliza ZahirovicEliza Zahirovic

  1. How did you obtain your M2 thesis internship – was the process easy or difficult?

The process was fairly easy for me, surprisingly. My friend and M2 classmate, Karin Andersson, spent some time in Bangkok and had a few contacts in Thailand. She put me in touch with one of her Thai professors, who was more than happy to help me. From there, she put me in contact with a few organizations, who all showed interest in having me as an intern. With that, I sent out cover letters, my CV and application forms (depending on the organization), and made my decision. I chose to intern at the International Health Policy Program (IHPP), at the Thai Ministry of Public Health.

The process of obtaining my Thai visa was a whole other thing though!

  1. What is the focus of your internship and what did day-to-day work look like?

I decided to focus on food marketing restriction policy. It has yet to be implemented and enforced here in Thailand and it is one of the WHO recommendations to fight against childhood obesity. My role was to conduct a systematic review on this matter and provide evidence that it could be implemented in this nation, to Thai policymakers. My day-to-day work life consisted of me mainly searching through databases and consulting my colleagues when I needed input regarding the Thai context. It was my first time doing a systematic review, so I was learning every step of the way. I was the only foreigner in the whole building, so it was really interesting being fully emerged in a Thai local workplace.

  1. What do you think about your internship and how does it fit into your future plans?

I believe I learned a great deal from my internship and living in Thailand. I learned how it was like to work in a foreign workplace and how they conduct things here. I also learned that I do not want to be a researcher, hahaha! I believe that I would like to do something more hands on and be more in the field, rather than being stuck behind a computer the whole day. Unfortunately, that was the situation I found myself in – in a country which I do not speak its language. However, I loved living and working here. I have learned so much about Thai culture, Thai healthcare and how the Thai Ministry of Public Health conducts its affairs. I have met wonderful people and wouldn’t change my experiences for the world. I highly encourage M2 students to go abroad and experience something different than what is offered in France or in your home country.

I for one will like to go back to Canada for a while, but would love to come back to Bangkok and work for an international health organization again! And this is thanks to my time at IHPP and in Thailand.

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