Thinking of undertaking an internship outside of the UK this summer? Applications have opened for UCL’s Global Internships Bursary, which provides financial support for students who have sourced their own summer internship in 2019. Grants of £500 are available and can be used to offset costs associated with working overseas such as flights, visas, vaccinations and living costs.
Applications close on 28th April (23.59). Eligibility applies. See more details and how to apply.
Magali Medinger, intern at the United Nations in New York
Last year Magali Medinger travelled to New York to complete an internship at an NGO. She told us more about her experience…
“My global internship was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Although it was nerve-wracking at first and sometimes challenging, if you want to learn more about the world, other people and most importantly yourself, I highly recommend taking on an opportunity like this. Breaking out of your comfort zone is key for growing as a person, so pack your bags and off you go.”
Why did you choose to undertake an international internship?
My main criteria for an international internship was to be able to work at the UN. I did not choose the country per se, as there are only two permanent Missions of Luxembourg to the UN in the world, and the spot in New York was open. Yet the fact that the internship was international, and in a new country, made the experience much more valuable. Hard work and responsibility at the workplace, combined with the immersion into a new culture and city also made it unforgettable.
What did you do doing your internship?
My tasks were many and varied, including general assistance to the diplomatic agents of the mission: assistance in report writing of meetings, tracking the activities of the different bodies of the UN, and daily general and specialised press screening. Moreover, I participated and assisted speechwriting in side events like “Children and Sustainable Development” and “Safer Roads and Inclusive Transportation”, and attended a number of high-level plenary meetings.
How did you immerse yourself in the culture of a new country?
Before going to New York, I had never been to the United States, nor had I ever really travelled to a new continent by myself. I think one of the most important things is planning. In order to immerse yourself in the culture of a country, you need to understand it first. Of course, it is also key that you leave space for spontaneous and unplanned moments, but you need to make sure you know enough about the country so as not to miss out on great opportunities.
What was the most useful part of your internship?
The conversations I had and the speeches I was able to listen to. Getting a grip of how the UN works and most importantly how the people inside this huge international organisation think and act is only possible by witnessing and being a part of it.
What were some of the challenges you faced during your internship?
Adapting to a new environment, new colleagues and a new job. It was a lot to take in at the beginning, but the people I met there were very caring and helped me overcome most challenges. Being on your own is not easy, but you get the chance to learn a lot about the world and yourself.
Do you have any tips for other students thinking of doing an internship overseas?
Be open to everything and don’t let your fear of the unknown stop you. Observe and listen carefully, adapt to your role. Connect with people and experience the city and culture.