A TWO-MONTH internship with the Asian Research Institute for Environmental Law based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, turned out to be an amazing experience for Dr Loh Ing Hoe, law lecturer from Curtin University Malaysia’s Faculty of Business.
Dr Loh shares that he appreciates the attachment opportunity, especially since it was with an international research institute where the work environment was different from what he was used to as a university lecturer.
“It was a good chance for me to gain industry exposure and enhance my research skills,” says Dr Loh.
According to Dr Loh, life in Chiang Mai was fascinating. He got around on bicycle, which allowed him to stray off the beaten track sometimes and gain interesting insight into the local lifestyle.
He shares that work at the research institute was interesting and challenging. Dr Loh was involved in an environmental impact assessment of the Mekong region, given his experience in environmental law research.
“Learning about how environmental impact assessments are done in other countries in the region was a real eyeopener. Matthew Hamilton Baird, the director of the institute, is also a consultant for environmental impact assessments in Myanmar, so I had the privilege of learning from a knowledgeable, experienced mentor,” says Dr Loh.
He also participated in research to develop Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment in the Mekong Region with Baird, which has been submitted for peer review and is expected to be included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium 2017 publication coming out this year.
In addition, Dr Loh was acquainted with non-profit organisation EarthRights International (ERI) and is negotiating his participation in guest lectures on environmental law to ERI activists across the globe.
“Being a guest lecturer for ERI would be a great achievement for me as an academic and representative of Curtin Malaysia, which, as Curtin University’s global hub in Asia, is committed to expanding Curtin’s intellectual footprint in the region,” says Dr Loh.
He adds that industry attachments can benefit academics by having them keep up with real-world developments and gain hands-on experience.
Although his internship has ended, Dr Loh still keeps in touch with the Asian Research Institute for Environmental Law in his ongoing research on strategic impact assessments, the One Belt and One Road initiative, and animal law.
Dr Loh looks at his experience as a good chance for him to gain industry exposure.