Aye Aye Thant

Internship in the Philippines

I left from Prague on 14 of May and arrived in Manila on 15 of May. They picked me up and sent to the domitory, where I have to stay. It was a nice arrangement and was satisfied on that. The first week of the internship, it was mainly getting used to the working environment. I was doing to get identity card in order to get access laboratory door entrance, to open organizational email to share information and communicate better. In my opinion, they are so well organized and systematized.

After all is done, I thought that I can start working in the lab. But it wasn’t. I have to take online training course namely “Good Laboratory Practices and Safety Training Module” in order to know safety guidelines and procedures to avoid accidents that could cause harm and injury to lab users. After completion this course, I was awarded the badge (kind of certificate). Finally, I could start working in laboratory confidently. As you all know that the internship is part of the curriculum of the PhD program of Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. Besides, an internship program is the perfect way to proactively tackle the difficulties, which we may face in the future research that I have to surely carry out for my thesis, and take the opportunity to have a definitive experience. My thesis will be about “Rice”, then I chose to go to Philippines, because there is International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which is the world’s premier rice research organization. I am certain that my choice will be undoubtedly the best.

During weekend, they arranged short trip to Manila to explore around Manila such as Manila Bay, SM mall of Asia Bayside, Philippines National Museum, etc. We have viewed new customs, different culture, language, transportation. So, you can imagine that it was fantastic. It is just like kind of relaxation after working hard in the lab for the whole week. I participated in the international food festival and our country (Myanmar) also served some traditional foods. It was also a joyous occasion.

In conclusion, during one month stay in Philippines as an intern, I felt quit satisfied with my lab work, sometimes participated in staff meeting, hanging out with colleagues during weekend. Concerning with my research, I have met the four objectives I have set in the beginning and I have gathered enough information and expertise to conduct my PhD study. There was enough confidence to precede my study.

Field experiment and data collection in Myanmar

I traveled Myanmar to conduct field experiment and data collection on 15 of June 2017. Firstly, I tried to get connected with my colleagues who are working in agriculture in order to collect rice seeds, which will be used in my experiment. I need to do a little bit hurry in collecting seeds because growing season for monsoon rice is a bit late. I visited to 5 townships and met with staff from Department of Agriculture. We discussed about rice varieties, which I want to get, and then they made contact with farmers and we visited to the villages together. They helped me to get seeds in hand as soon as possible. I did the same procedure in all five townships. Seed collection was done well though it took a time to some extent.

Secondly, I could begin a rice field experiment. It was started step by step such as preparing seedbed, land preparation, layouting, transplanting, etc. While doing in those tasks, everything, like hiring labor, machine for land preparation, buying materials required, was going well because I collaborated with IRRI_Myanmar office for this field research. So they were a big hand for me and my research. I am so glad for that.

Then, the next one I regularly do is that I go to the field and observe every day such as what problem they have (pests), what they need (nutrients, water). The plants grow well and they reach to the stage, which I can start data collection. As you all know “Practice makes perfect”, which means that it is possible to learn something or develop a skill if practise enough, I have no doubt that I am more skillful in managing my rice field and collecting data than before. However, it was obvious that field research is time intensive. Anyway, I got satisfaction what I am doing. Data collection is still ongoing.

In conclusion, field research allows researchers to gain firsthand experience and knowledge about the processes and it yields very detailed data. I do believe that it will be a good cornerstone to accomplish a valuable research article. For social context while doing experiment, there is no big issues since Myanmar is my home country and I have friends and colleauges, who can assist me whenever necessary. 

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