In the words of Yehyun Shin
“The biggest concern that I had as a university student was that I wasn’t ready to decide the field that I would like to work in. I enjoyed studying and gaining experience in Media related field, which is my major, but also loved animals so much and was interested in environmental issues. Furthermore, I had a chance to teach English to young students and that chance made me to struggle even more on deciding the next stop of my journey. At that point, I was able to know about East-Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat and had a chance to apply for the internship program.
It was another concern to work in a Secretariat that speaks English, as I didn’t have much confidence in my English skills. However, all the colleagues were so helpful and assisted me to successfully complete my tasks without putting pressure on me. The environment and atmosphere helped me to be more confident as I learnt how to express myself well, this in turn improved my communication skills.
However, the communication skills were an optional skill that I was able to obtain while working in the Secretariat. I received a call from Eunsong Elementary School on my first day of work, with a request to present a lecture about EAAFP Secretariat and the key species that they are working to conserve. Considering my interest on education of young students, I was able to undertake the whole lecture project and to coordinate all the details with the Elementary School. Being completely dedicated to one of the big projects was a bit pressure for me, but the pressure worked as a responsibility for me to be more precise and passionate. Not only that, but the valuable experiences that I gained through all the processes were much bigger, such as learning the detail processes and the communication skills to interact with people. This project led us to do another lecture in different elementary school community, Dong-gu Children Committee, and I was able to handle the project as well based on the experience with Eunsong elementary school.
The other biggest event that I was engaged in was the World Migratory Bird Day. Considering the COVID19 Situation, we had to figure out what the best platform to bring more people to be interested and participate in the event. All the programs were a try, such as recording a virtual bird tour video for those who are not able to visit the site and do the actual bird tour, or to collect questions to be answered by experts. By participating in all the processes of these programs, I was able to learn how to plan, coordinate, prepare, and implement projects successfully. Not only preparing the programs, I also had to follow up with WMBD Small Grant Fund applicants, starting from the initial applications to the reports. As such, I was able to strengthen my ability to communicate with participants from different levels and different countries.
When the new EAAFP Species Factsheets were finally published, it was such a big achievement for me to see how the factsheets can be used as souvenirs, gifts, and as information sheets. To consider how the factsheets could contain more transmissibility, to do the final checks several times before printing, and to order and coordinate with the printing company so that we receive high quality factsheets. It was all a learning experience and the first achievement I went through after joining the Secretariat.
Besides the coordinating and lecturing experiences, I was also able to visit some of the sites and workshops related to migratory waterbird conservation. It was a different experience to practically see how the conservation activities are carried out. Participating in the tagging of the Black-faced Spoonbills, attending workshops, and meeting with diverse local community people who are so passionate about conserving migratory waterbirds also gave me a fresh impetus. I would never forget these memories and it will always remain in my heart.”
©️You Jin Lee