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Sustainability’s Australian based intern Daniel Hay-Hendry was provided the opportunity to complete a four-week internship in our Mongolian office as part of the New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship Program.

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

Colin Davies, Sustainability’s Senior Environmental Advisor and Intern Coordinator said: “Sustainability are a proud advocate of providing opportunities to young professionals and students hoping to gain an insight into the professional working environment.

“Via the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program Sustainability have been fortunate to assist and provide a new opportunity for Daniel, an Australian undergraduate student who has been able to undertake an international semester-based study and internship in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Inspiring and supporting the next generation of environmental professionals is a high priority on Sustainability’s agenda and we aim to continue to provide these opportunities for many years to come.”

Sustainability interviewed Daniel about his experience in Mongolia during the Scholarship Program.

Daniel, you are an Undergraduate Student and NCP Scholar, what are you studying and where?

I am currently studying Environmental Engineering at Murdoch University in Perth.

What kind of work have you been exposed to throughout the duration of your Mongolian internship?

During my time in the East Asia office I have been lucky enough to be exposed to a variety of projects. I have been involved in projects for clients such as the; Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), Mitsubishi and Sainshand Salkhin Park LLC, who have just completed the construction phase of the largest Windfarm in Mongolia. My work has ranged from reviewing audit findings and report writing to National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting and National Pollutant Inventory calculations. I was also lucky enough to take part in the Mining and Water Management, Discover Mongolia Pre-Summit Workshop hosted by Sustainability and International Finance Corporation in Ulaanbaatar.

Daniel, how valuable has the opportunity to gain international professional experience been and how will it benefit you for the remainder of your studying and once you have graduated?

University provides students with a great foundation but getting professional experience in industry has been an opportunity to create context around the knowledge I have gained, put it to practice and develop both personal and business networks. Working in a team, with a variety of people from different backgrounds, on projects based in a number of countries, has highlighted the importance of approaching new challenges with an open mind, having the ability to adapt to different situations and effectively communicate within a team. The variety of skills I have been able to develop during my time at Sustainability are largely transferable, and I feel they will allow me to complete my studies with a new perspective, positioning me well for future work in industry, where I will be able to contribute to a range of projects.

Interning in a foreign country and new environment can be a daunting task, how have you tackled this and what support has been provided to you throughout?

Luckily, the team at Sustainability East Asia have made the transition to life in a new country much more comfortable. The support started in Perth, organising my visas, and has been continuous throughout my stay in Mongolia, even organising tours to the countryside. However, there have still been challengers along the way, simple tasks such as food shopping can easily become a lucky draw for ingredients and being able to navigate cultural differences can be quite the test. Establishing a good network of friends, fortunately for me, my co-workers have been incredibly welcoming, and keeping active have been the key to maintaining a level head. Facing new challenges each day can become stressful, and being able to run, play sport, or in my case hike through the beautiful country side can be incredibly calming and help to put things in perspective.

Daniel, if you could summarise your experience and Sustainability in three words, what would they be and why?

Inspiring; being able to work alongside people who are experts in their fields has allowed me to learn so much but has also inspired me to set higher goals and take the necessary steps achieving them.

Supported; being able to connect with, and have the respect of co-workers and management, makes it possible to ask questions, and be provided with feedback from which I can effectively develop my skills.

Engaging; the variety of projects that Sustainability is involved in makes each day interesting and different, this makes it far easier to get out of bed as Mongolia progressively gets colder and colder.

-interview ends-

Sustainability would like to thank Daniel for his hard work and diligent approach throughout the duration of his internship and wish him all the best for the remainder of his studies. In addition, thank you to the welcoming and supportive team at Sustainability East Asia.

Image, from left to right: David Hunt, Nyamdorj Barnuud, Rishe Kari, Nasanjargal Garmaa, Baigali Dorjgotov, Daniel Hay-Hendry. Front: Nomingerel Munkhtsooj, Munkhjargal Bayarlkhagva.