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Regular version of the site

In the UN after the second attempt: Julia Baistrukova’s internship in the Economic Commission for Europe

Today comes the second article about the graduates’ internships of the GSU programme "Prototyping Future Cities". Julia Baistrukova told us about her experience in the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations.

UNECE is a regional organization Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The Commission was established in 1947 to promote economic cooperation between the member countries of the Commission. Together with European countries the organization includes the United States, Canada, Turkey, Israel, the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. UNECE is headquartered in Geneva.

 

Why the UN?

I was dreaming about an internship at the UN. I wondered what it would be like to work in a global organization for world peace. It was also attractive to have an opportunity to work abroad and get out of the comfort zone, being in foreign country and communicating in a foreign language for a long time.

How did you qualify for an internship?

A couple of years ago I applied for a job at the UN in New York (USA) and Nairobi (Kenya), but did not receive a response. This year I decided to try again.

I went to the HSE Career website and found an open call for an internship. Then, for about two or three hours I was filling out an application form in English on the UN website, which included a motivation letter, information about work experience, education, etc.

Next step was a video interview. I was asked questions about my studies, masters classes and about why I wanted to intern for the UN.

I was accepted, and the internship lasted three months: from February to May 2019.

What tasks did you perform? Which were the most interesting?

I was working at the Department of Housing and Land use. There were only 6 people in the Department, so I was a true member of the team. For three months I was engaged in the organization of various meetings, events, round tables. For example, I participated in the preparation and holding of the "City Day", where there were 50 mayors of the ECE region. They discussed the development of their cities, the use of innovative technologies and smart solutions.

I was also working on the document editing and the project “United for Smart Sustainable Cities” (U4SSC) – an initiative of the UN and ITU (International Telecommunication Union) in the development of indicators that will allow us to compare cities on their innovative development.

What skills have you gained?

During the time spent on the internship, I learned to work in stressful conditions, received basic design skills and, of course, improved my English.

What impressed you most of all?

I really enjoyed working in the Palace of Nations in Geneva, as well as the team – each person was a real expert in their field. The internship inspired me to move to Switzerland after finishing my master's degree.

What is important to know if you plan to choose this place for an internship?

Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, so it is difficult to afford an unpaid internship there. But if you have passed the selection, this chance cannot be missed. I found friends and gathered contacts during the internship, which can help me to move to Switzerland and find a job.

Did you make use of the knowledge and skills gained at GSU & Shukhov Lab?

The Department where I trained is directly connected with the master's program: at work I was engaged in Urban Planning. Knowledge about cities and smart technologies gained during my studies helped in the successful completion of the internship.

The following subjects were crucial to me: ‘Readings on Urbanity’ classes (essays in English helped to compile various documents using the academic language), ‘Big Data’ (I had to analyze a lot of statistical information) and seminars on Adobe products (preparation of presentations, banners and other visual materials).

Interview: Ekaterina Vargina