After my professor announced that a two- to six-month internship is a compulsory part of the course credits, I spent much of the evening scouring the Internet for one. I’m always looking for new experiences: Big multinational companies and corporations are no longer thrilling me. I decided to search for an internship with a nongovernmental organization, and since I love animals, PETA immediately came to mind.
Shortly after, I received the great news that PETA Asia had granted me a two-month internship. As an avid traveler, I am never afraid to see the other side of the world, to experience what others do not. I arrived four days in advance of my internship, planning to check out the city before I started working for animals. The very first thing I had to deal with was overcoming the culture shock. Manila was very different from anywhere else I had ever been. I had to get used to seeing sprawling slums, congested streets, and poverty-stricken families. The tricycles and jeepneys, just some of the ways that people commute in Manila, were a totally new experience for me.
The days with PETA Asia, however intense, passed quickly. Besides the constant flow of desk-based projects and tasks, I was proud to be painted head to toe in bronze body paint, together with two fellow interns, for an Olympic-themed protest outside the British Embassy. I also found myself at another protest, this time squatting on the unshaded street in front of the Japanese embassy with the aim of stopping the slaughtering of dolphins in the country. In order to secure a better life for Mali, I investigated, mixing with other visitors at the zoo to check on Mali’s condition and to take photos of her for reports. I also spent one long evening tabling at a Smashing Pumpkins concert to educate people about the plight of this lonely, miserable elephant.
With the help of friendly staffers, the hours in the office always started and ended with laughter. The most hilarious office staffer was Grace, PETA’s foster dog! She always makes people smile, and one time, she grabbed a whole slice of vegan pizza from me. Life after work was even crazier. The evenings always started with scrumptious vegan dinners with my fellow interns and ended with us drinking the night away at one of Manila’s many live music bars. I will never forget anything that happened during my days with PETA Asia.
I feel that I am always lucky, for every little thing (good or bad) that I face in this life. This internship opportunity has granted me the broader exposure to animal rights and a vegetarian diet. The friends I met will definitely last forever, and the experience that I gained is invaluable. I am glad I became a part of PETA, and I’m proud to be able to contribute my tiny little efforts in helping to save animals.
Posted by former PETA Asia-Pacific intern JiaYi Ng