Silvia Peirolo is a second year MID Student, currently doing her Internship in New York with UN OCHA.
I was selected for an internship at UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) in New York for six months and I believe that choosing the specialization ‘Disaster Studies’ at Wageningen University helped me in getting this opportunity. I wanted to do my internship at the United Nations because I am very interested in humanitarian affairs and I can picture myself working in this field after university.
More specifically, I work in the ‘Funding Coordination Section’ that provides substantive support to OCHA Country Offices in managing funds. This means that my unit helps in resolving operational and technical issues in daily management of funds. In addition, the section supports the development of accountability and risk management framework.
I really appreciate the diversity in work tasks and the possibility to work with different people every day even if my unit is relatively small. For example, I attend OCHA meetings, write minutes for the section, analyse data, sum up field mission recommendations, update information on websites, and help in organizing events… Right now, I am helping in organizing a workshop in Nairobi for international and national NGOs.
I consider myself lucky to be at the UN headquarters in New York: I have the opportunity to attend many events such as the 71st session of the UN General Assembly and meet people that have worked all around the world and that have a lot of knowledge on humanitarian issues.
In the city that never sleeps where the subway works 24 sur 7, it is sometimes hard to choose what to do in the weekend!! There are so many events, concerts, museums, parks that I always find something that I like to do. Moreover, there are so many UN interns from all around the world that it is easy to get in touch with them and go out all together.
Obviously, there are also negative aspects of living in New York: first, it is an extremely expensive city and for unpaid interns very few opportunities that the city offer are affordable. Moreover, it comes as little surprise that income inequality in the US is greatest in New York: it is astonishing to walk in the morning and see so many homeless people on the streets of Manhattan.
If you are interested in humanitarian affairs, in working on how to improve assistance to people affected by humanitarian crisis and save lives, OCHA might be a good opportunity for an internship.