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Monique recently returned from an 8 week internship in the UK, where she had an extremely rewarding professional experience, was able to explore quite a bit of the country and met loads of new friends. We caught up with her to share some details of her fabulous British adventure!
Has this helped to shape your future career?
I have been working at International Medical Corps UK, an international emergency relief NGO, for 8 weeks and the experience has contributed to shaping the path to my future career. I would like to work in the international field which is one the main reasons why I chose to intern abroad. The office particularly deals with emergency, humanitarian crisis and health care rehabilitation in foreign countries, mainly in Africa and the Middle East. Thus in addition to working abroad, I have learnt a lot about the humanitarian work done in 31 other countries and the amount of work it takes behind the scenes to sustain these projects. More so, a part of being an intern at IMC means attending weekly office meetings and being able to observe the roles of different positions in other departments, as well as, having the opportunity to meet over lunch with other department officers to hear about their work. This exposure, from the desk work to the networking, has helped to contribute to building the framework of what I think is commendable and efficient in a workplace, as well as, what I would like to pursue in an international career.
What do you think are the main skills you have picked up?
The main skills I have picked up from the formal tasks are mainly research and organizational based. Being a media and communications intern many of my tasks deal with researching relevant news and statistics for the company, creating datasheets and timelines, and organizing any digital or printed media material. The overlying aim of the team focuses on using a positive light and angle in presenting the media and reaching its target audience. Thus being a media intern requires a certain level of creativity and innovation that is developed individually, as a team and even in training. All these are done in addition to any relevant ad hoc tasks that may come up. However, above this all, I have learnt how to sharpen my networking skills within a professional environment – from casual conversations in the office kitchen to meetings with the team director. Developing work relationships and navigating between the lines of formal and informal cues has enabled me to learn from and bridge connections with a variety of interesting persons.
What has been the best bit about your experience?
I believe that meeting new people in a new and vibrant city (given that the weather was good!) has been the highlight of my global experiences.
How did you find BUNAC’s help in the process?
BUNAC provided a sponsorship for the intern visa, which once it was received was helpful in getting the visa to intern in Britain. They also organized various Orientation meetings to give the new interns a “play by play” of London and its sites.
What did you get up to in your spare time?
In my spare time I mostly met with other interns and friends, went to lunch with co-workers, and then explored the city. There is a lot of site seeing to be done in London whether that is the free museums, the magnificent parks or the trademark bridges (note: London Bridge is not Tower Bridge!), or Westminster Big Ben. I even managed to visit Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days!
What do you think are the main benefits to doing an internship overseas?
Internships done overseas can only reap benefits as it, in the very least, offers a unique, global experience. With the world getting smaller due to rapid rates of globalization, adaptability is necessary in developing personal character as people need to be able to adjust to and work in different environments and cultures. Doing an internship abroad is one of many ways to develop the skill of adaptability as well as gain exposure to a world outside of what we are accustomed to.
What did you find most rewarding about your experience?
The most rewarding part of the experience was, honestly, the experience and journey itself. There is no one aspect that is most particularly rewarding beyond the entire experience itself.
And finally would you recommend BUNAC to someone thinking of interning in the UK?
I would recommend BUNAC to someone thinking of interning in the UK, especially to a young person who is without any solid support system there. The visa process can be quite tedious and lengthy; therefore it is smart to have an organization like BUNAC that will provide sponsorship for the visa, screen the company and work alongside you to ensure a smooth process. BUNAC also will provide guidelines and checklists of documents or any other necessary requirements for the internship process. However, the pursuit of an internship is still ultimately individual, thus I would advise that they start the process early and remember that the ultimate responsibility is still very much their own.
Follow in Monique's footsteps and start your own Intern in Britain adventure today!