Being a liberal arts university, Asian University for Women (AUW) encourages its students to do internships every year in various sectors. In today’s competitive job market, internship and volunteer work are very crucial to gain real world job experience and thereby AUW has been exposing its students through internships. For almost four years, I have received opportunities to do internships in various organizations such as developing agencies and financial institutions in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Last year I was honored an internship with Industrial Promotion and Development Company a financial institution in Dhaka and currently I am working at SOC Films, which is a production company in Pakistan, spearheaded by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. Sharmeen’s work is mostly based on human rights and women’s issues. She has been putting her efforts into raising the voices of marginalized communities and highlighting the issues which assist to break boundaries and focused on challenging viewers. Some of her documentaries include Saving Faces, Pakistan’s Open Secret and Pakistan’s Taliban Generation, Afghanistan Unveiled, Transgender, The New Apartheid and many more films are aired on various channels abroad. Sharmeen’s work and the motive of the company really inspired me to work wholeheartedly, as I have always been interested in social service.
During my internship at SOC Films, each day I experienced and learnt something new and important. As most people do when starting a new job, I felt overwhelmed with the influx of new information. I enjoyed doing research on various social issues including polio in Pakistan, political situation of different countries, unsung heroes of Pakistan, animated movies, and footages of old Lahore city, jazz and orchestras musicians of 1950’s and 60’s in Pakistan. The most fun part was going out for shoots with the production team where I took photographs of settings behind the scenes, which were scheduled for that day. Along with it I also got opportunity to observe selection process of subjects for documentaries who were courageous enough to talk in front of camera. Indeed, I loved to learn subjects totally different from my major, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, that were related to documentary films including viral campaigning, media tracking, creating a blog, transcribing videos, test screening of animatics and much more.
Learning at SOC was really fun. It could be because the staff treated their interns as they would treat a full time team member or permanent employee and part of the reason was due to the welcoming, cooperating and assisting team members. The atmosphere of the office was positive, energetic and fun. Everyone has been fantastic and welcoming to us and it was an atmosphere where ideas were fostered and feedback was welcomed.
Overall, the internship was a good chance for me to realize and understand myself and my interest along with making me familiar with job life. The aim of the company really motivated me further to work for society and gave me the idea that I can also do something positive for my community. Currently, the company is working on a six part documentary series called Ho-yaqeen. The purpose of this series is to show the importance of individuals’ efforts and to pass the message that everyone who desires to make a difference in their society can make a difference. It shows the struggle of six individuals across the country who brought change in their communities. The series is really inspiring and it encouraged me and made my desire of social service further stronger and firm. Last year, I did work with a company which is the first private sector financial institution in Bangladesh, but I felt that it was not according to my taste and desire that I have and always wanted. However, the motive of SOC Films really inspired me and I found myself more interested to work in developing agencies and other non-governmental organizations.
At last, a piece of advice that I want to share is to utilize every second given to you in your internship properly. As long as you take advantage of every moment, you will leave with an entirely new group of friends, even more memories that will never fade, and absolutely no regrets. Therefore, we should use an internship as a learning opportunity, not only just an opportunity to gain real world experience.