Internship at Mekong Modelling Associates – 1 month in Phnom Penh

Tamsin Jones, our current Mekong Modelling Associates (MMA) intern, tells us about the great time she’s had in her first month and the variety of skills she is learning.

As I come to the end of my first month in Phnom Penh I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on the past few weeks. The highlight for me has been taking a trip to Laos’ Mekong River Commission (MRC) to experience meetings about the flood modelling work being done by the team there.

Expect the unexpected

One thing you quickly learn about Asia is to expect the unexpected. When I arrived at the airport to catch my flight to Vientiane, Laos I was told they had decided to leave 2 hours prior! After a return trip home, where I experienced some of the Water Festival in Phnom Penh, I finally got to Laos the following day after being put on the next flight.

Despite missing the main meeting, I got to listen in to discussions about calculating flood damages which was something I found really interesting. The contrast between data collection on such subjects is very different to the UK. Despite assumptions having to be made for the work it still provides valuable quantitative results for the government. By calculating monetary values for flood damage probability curves, the relation to scenarios of change is a useful way for displaying results for those officials who can implement changes.

Work life balance

My time in Laos was a great way to meet experts in the field from all over the world and to work in a different environment. Some colleagues from the MRC team invited me out for traditional Laos food. This included frog’s legs and the best duck I’ve ever eaten! I also took part in the Inter Mekong Hash – a 24km run (some walking) outside of Vientiane. I even managed to spot an elephant and some temples on the run! This was such a great way to explore a new country and burn off some rice and noodles.

On my return to Phnom Penh, I have continued to work on running ISIS models to look at changes to floodplains from differing scenarios. A meeting on the initial studies for this is coming up in the next few weeks. This project has continued to spark my interest in learning modelling which is something I hope to continue with by applying for the JBA Consulting graduate scheme.

As my last few weeks here approaches, I’m excited to see how the work I have been doing at MMA will be implemented.

JBA Tamsin Jones Mekong Internship collage

Want to know more?

You can email Tamsin to find out more about her internship. Why not visit the Mekong Modelling Associates website to find out more about our international work?

If you are a student yourself and are looking for your next opportunity, visit our Graduate Recruitment web pages for more information on our 2018 application round.

Our Water Management/Geoscience, Environmental Management and Software/Systems Development disciplines opened for applications on Monday 13 November, with the closing date being 3 January. Interviews and appointments will follow in the New Year.


Leave a Reply