If you’ve ever considered of doing an internship in an international organization abroad, I’m sure you got inspired yesterday while listening our lovely speakers Elina Eronen, Mari Tuokko and Jonna Temonen who have done their internship at United Nations or at European Union (Elina has actually done both). The event was arranged by UN Association of Jyväskylä (JyYK) and Jyväskylä Young European Federalists (JEF) – we were so excited to see that our Internship evening gathered an audience of around 90 people! We also offered some glögi and ginger bread which JEF had made and decorated to match with our night’s theme.
Elina Eronen: “Both of the internships were good for professional development”
Elina had done her internship at Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN in New York. Elina said that part of the experience of doing her internship was about doing it in a huge city of New York and she also noted that it was a really nice part of it!
The permanent mission of Finland to the UN (YKE) is one of our largest diplomatic missions in the world and it promotes the national interest of Finland. If you’re interested in doing a traineeship in YKE, you need a grant from your University which will guarantee a monthly salary. Usually the duration of the traineeship is 3 months, but Elina actually had a grant only for two months so she said that she was really lucky to get the position.
The YKE expects for example the interns to be interested in global questions and in UN matters and excellent Finnish and good English skills. The duties were:
- mainly of assisting diplomats
- participating in meetings and reporting of them
- information retrieval and production of background materials
- other assisting tasks
The secretariat of the committee on development (DEVE) in the EP is located in Brussels and it offers three Robert Schuman traineeships: general option, journalism option and Sakharov Prize option which is for those interested in human rights. Elina highlighted that though it’s difficult to get an internship (they took 250 out of 25 000 applied if I recall it correctly) you should definitely try.
Duration of the internship is for 5 months and monthly scholarship is about 1200€ from which you have to finance your living expences etc. Tasks are varying and some interns had a problem of not having enough tasks. Elina said that though Brussels is a nice city, it’s not her favourite city in Europe.
Elina underlined that both of the places were good for professional development but not so much financially. She also said that if you’re looking for an internship in a place where they’d hire you afterwards, these are not necessarily the places you’re looking for.
Mari Tuokko: “Internship is meant for learning”
Mari did her internship in United Nations Regional Information Center (UNRIC) in Brussels. Her position was in Nordic Office. UN internships are always unpaid which Mari considered unfair for students from different parts of Europe: it is most likely that you’ll get either a scholarship from your own UNI or you can apply Erasmus+ grant. The duties were:
- Reporting of international politics and media monitoring
- Managing websites, UN-topics related content production, translation work
- Cooperation with NGOs. attending conferences, event assistant
- Administration of social media, stats, strategy development and implementation (Nordic Desk)
- Launching the UN documentary project YK-kino
- Preparation of monthly newsletter
- Outreach efforts & the promotion of public information campaigns
When you were listening to Mari, you could definitely hear her excitement of her internship. She said that Brussels is an amazing city which is always busy – it has seminars and events daily. It has thousands of interns and though it is a “Eurobubble” you can never know what happens. Mari actually had an amazing opportunity to meet the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon!
Mari told that internship in UNRIC is not an open gate to get a work from UN but it’s definitely an advantage in CV. She also had some great tips from UNRIC. She said that language skills is always an asset and highlighted the importance of positive attitude and proactiveness. She also encouraged everyone to abandon the Finnish attitude of shyness and said that no one knows everything, internship is meant for learning!
Jonna Temonen: “Brussels is all about networking”
Jonna did her traineeship in Press and Communication section of European People’s party (EPP) in European Parliament in Brussels. It’s the biggest group in EP which includes 8 groups. Traineeship is paid and trainees receive a monthly allowance of 1000 EUR to cover their living costs in Brussels. The duration is always for 3 months.
For applying you need to fill a form, send your certificates and proof of language proficiency. You also need a letter of recommendation from your University, as well as from the local, national or European level political actor, who is a member party of the EPP-group. The duties were:
- Social media
- Translating, writing, reporting
- Helping MEP’s
- Attending meetings, committee, press conferences
- Attending plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
Jonna also had a video where she went around EP and introduced the place for the audience. She also had an interview of MEP Henna Virkkunen in the video. She said that the best parts of her traineeship in Brussels were making friends and relations, networking, improving your working as well as your language skills.
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Written by: Hanna Mutanen
Photos: Hanna Mutanen & Ulriikka Myöhänen