An Internship with the United Nations in NYC

Can you repeat that again?” I ask in disbelief. Did my boss, the Deputy Ambassador to the state of Palestine, just ask me to look over her Security Council speech? She did. How can I, an undergraduate, possibly begin to even look at the draft, now she is open to advice? I toil up the stairs back to my office, attempting to start reading with a critical eye. At the back of my head there was the echo: Unqualified, unequipped…a worry that followed me before my internship even started. Would I be qualified enough? What if I fail? 

Slowly, as the two-month internship progressed, this anxiety settled and a confidence in my own ability started to show. Tasks both small and large would fill my days, and I would be eager to assist the office. Some days I would find myself organising shelves filled with important documents. Other days I would shadow my boss to meetings such as the preparation for the upcoming security council sessions, attended by representatives from other delegations. I shadowed my boss to meetings with heads of multiple organisations including the World Council of Churches and Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). I met Palestinians who were Bedouins, refugees, and residents in New York, giving me an understanding of the importance of my internship.

In my mind this two-month internship had turned into a full-time job. Feeling a connection with the office as if this fleeting moment would be long-lasting. Never in my life had I been so excited to wake up and head to work. As I would ring the entrance bell to get into my office, a townhouse in Upper-East-Side Manhattan, I would not be faced with the usual nervousness or anxiety, but with an excitement of what I would be faced with.

Having an International Relations major, my University education was the perfect foundation for my internship. Finally I was able to identify my interests in the expansive subject of IR, enabling me to find suitable subjects for my dissertation.

To go abroad to New York City and work in UN Headquarters gave me an abroad experience like no other: everyone was abroad. As I walked the halls of the United Nations Headquarters I would pass people from literally all over the world. Meetings were held in five different languages, clothing represented all ends of the earth. Beyond this, as a woman with Palestinian roots it was an amazing experience to embrace my nationality. This is especially considering I was discouraged by many to take the internship as it was branded as “controversial”. It was a privilege to work at the mission who works daily towards my country and people. I want to thank the Principal’s Go Abroad Fund for the support they provided during this experience that brought me many steps closer towards my future.

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