Friday, August 28, 2009

Intern's Voice, Yini Qiu

I usually wake up at 7:45 am and leave my dormitory at 8:20 am. My weekdays start with several warm morning greetings from all my fellow GAA co-workers.

This is Yini Qiu. I am currently a graduate student from School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University in California. My home is in Shanghai, China. I came to the United States about a year ago.

I still remember the first day at GAA. After my supervisors and the other interns welcomed me, the program coordinator started the orientation session. She explained almost every chapter in GAA intern guide book, including the dress code and the interns’ daily work. I was surprised to be treated in such professional way. Compared to the internship that I did before, GAA cares about interns and believes interns do make a difference.

Once I had the chance to sit at the CEDAW (Committee to Eliminate Discrimination against Women) conference in a UN’s conference room. Being exposed to such a great environment gave me a concrete idea of the UN rather than just an abstract image. The experience broadened my horizon.

I work on a full-time basis here in GAA and am in charge of the Chinese section for all the topics that GAA covers. Through very wide reading on the aging issue, I’ve collected a lot of information and have learned so much from it.

The research itself is helpful and some articles provide answers to questions that were raised in earlier postings. For example, the article,
China’s Future will be Hobbled by Old Age , throws into question how China will deal with the situation of “getting old before getting rich.” This is a very tough fact. While I am reading it, I keep searching for a possible solution because I will be facing this situation soon. What will we Chinese do?

A week later, I found an article about the Japanese retired workers’ life. It enlightened me. Called”
The Life after Retirement in Japan(Article in Chinese), the author suggests that life in the old age can be wonderful and as meaningful as young people’s. So perhaps China may not solve its aging challenge perfectly, but if the nation keeps improving and making the situation of older people better, then we are on the way to achieving our goal. And this is what GAA tries to do, I think.

Yes, I am learning from GAA, a lot, and GAA is supported by all the interns’ working together. And I am proud of the team I work with and feel involved and fulfilled. I have a new awareness and understanding of older people’s needs, as well as instrumental and practical solutions to their issues. I have worked on related UN projects, such as the proposed human rights convention on rights of older people and how NGOs can work with governments to achieve such a lofty goal.

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