Future NGO leaders learn life lessons in Citi’s program

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Future NGO leaders learn life lessons in Citi’s program

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Ahn Gook-hwa, a former Citi-Kyung Hee University NGO intern, works for the an NGO that created music education programs for Cambodia and Myanmar.

Citibank values the commitment of non-government organizations (NGOs) to serve communities around the world. In order to raise future NGO leaders, the bank established an internship program in conjunction with Kyung Hee University in 2006. Undergraduate and graduate students from across the nation are given the opportunity to learn and experience what it’s like to work for an NGO for two months. The internship program gives students money for eight weeks of work and a certificate of completion.

Until this year, a total of 785 students worked in more than 70 NGOs where they were trained to be next-generation leaders.

Ahn Gook-hwa, a 28-year-old graduate student, was one of the beneficiaries of the program. She was working for a conglomerate, but she quit her job in search of a better-suited position. While she was studying international development and cooperation in graduate school, she decided to join the program. Now, she is the project manager for Music for One Foundation, a nonprofit organization that designs music education projects for Cambodia and Myanmar.

Ahn was introduced to her current job through the Citi internship program. Last year, she found out about the program on Facebook and got the opportunity to work for the organization for two months as an intern. The advisers in the program recognized her talents in international development and cooperation, and matched her to the Music for One Foundation, which was preparing for an overseas charity project.

The organization sent her to Myanmar to lead the music volunteer group. It was her first time leading a volunteer group, but she stepped up to the challenge with her knowledge in international cooperation. Noticing her hard work as a project manager, Music for One hired her as a permanent employee.

Many of her friends and relatives wondered why she quit a stable to join a charity organization. Her answer is that she has a better quality of life when she is working willingly in the office where her colleagues share similar goals. They all believe their endeavors will make the world a better place. Even though her salary is lower, her accomplishments and contribution to society outweigh her paycheck.

“Even if the NGO you were matched with is not the place you wanted, you should still actively take part in the organization and learn what you can do for our society,” said Ahn. “You will definitely find a better ‘you’ with wiser views on the world and the future.”

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