• Studying sociology.
  • A Kemper Scholar.
  • Expanding my world view.
  • Interested in global development.

Mika Lim chose to intern abroad to enhance her knowledge of international issues.

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Learning Abroad

Mika Lim explores global leadership as an intern in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Mika Lim is no stranger to globe-trotting, but her summer internship in Cambodia and Vietnam marked an important leg of her life's voyage.

The sociology major got an in-depth look at global non-governmental organization management by working at two organizations after her junior year.

One was the Pari Project, which provides fundraising, marketing and development services for NGOs. The other was the Supplementary Teaching and Education Program (STEP), an NGO that works toward disintegrating corruption in Cambodia's education system.

A National Scholar

Mika earned the chance to go to Asia through the Kemper Scholarship, a national honor she won after her freshman year. The award for students interested in business or management pays for three years of scholarships and two summer internships.

She completed the first internship with the Women's Business Development Center in Chicago after her sophomore year. The second included her work in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Lessons in Cambodia

The biggest project Mika undertook with STEP was designing and implementing a program to collect and disseminate the oral histories of elders and Khmer Rouge survivors in the village of Lveate. Her work created oral history archives for local patrons to use.

The Gates Foundation hopes to continue the project in the future, but, as Mika learned, success does not happen overnight.

"I learned that development work takes a great deal of patience and that there are no quick fixes. A small amount of work can yield immediately visible and positive results, but I've found those results are rarely sustainable since the problems are so engrained in history, culture and institutions."

Prepared for the Future

"The Kemper Foundation experience has given me a stronger experiential framework for understanding what I learn in the classroom," Mika says. "It has provided me with hands-on opportunities to learn the complexities of changing political, economic and social environments. It has been challenging, but not without guidance, and its rigor has made it an invaluable experience."

This story was written by English and biology major Hannah Moser '13.

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