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The gradual cooling of the weather reminds me that it is already the third week of our time at Durham. Time seems to fly by here compared to the other Durham, especially when everything seems so novel and foreign to us. Throughout the past two weeks, we have visited many places in town to learn about its rich culture and historical significance. All these experiences have enriched my understanding of the mining city, while also allowing me to observe clearer the differences between the two Durham’s.

Both Durham’s had a period of great economic boom from their local industry which were tobacco in Durham,  NC, and mining in Durham, England. However, what we saw in Bull City in the past decade is a recovering economy, as Durham is flourishing as the City of Medicine within the Research Triangle Park. Nevertheless,Durham, England’s economy has not seen such improvement in recent years. After the mining industries subsided in the 1980s, the town including the county suffers from mass unemployment and redundancy, as thousand of workers lost their jobs. Organizations such as Durham Employment and Skills, the worksite that I am interning at, are trying their best to help people get placed into the job market, but the economy of England since Brexit has been kind of stagnant due to the tensions it has caused. As a result, finding jobs remain difficult for many people especially the ones who do not have higher education.

Working at DES has also taught me many things about working here as opposed to working at OEWD back in the states. Although we have laid out what we were going to do each day in a very organized schedule since the first day, things did not go as smoothly as we have anticipated. As a part of the County Council, DES is tightly controlled by it, including its online and social media presence. From the start, DES could not have its own website nor Facebook page. One of our tasks was to think of ways to market its vocational training courses, but this is extremely difficult without the use of internet and media. As a result, we had to think of ways to market through the traditional way, such as using flyers and brochures. Despite the fact that we had to modify our original plan, we have made the best use of what we have and contribute as much as possible to the office.

As this is my last blog, I am actually feeling quite sentimental about finishing this entry. Looking back at the past eight weeks, I am still surprised at how much I have learned this summer with DukeEngage. I have learned the basics of working at a government nonprofit organization, including the interactions among colleagues and supervisors. DukeEngage gave me the privilege of having my first job, travelling abroad to a country I have never visited, and making unforgettable memories along the way. I want to thank DukeEngage to giving me this incredible opportunity and I hope to support this amazing program to the best of my abilities in the future.