Hi, I am Siri and I have just completed a three months internship at RIJ. Please read on to learn more about what an internship actually is and what you can gain from it.
What is an internship?
An internship is all about gaining work experience in a given field. It may be something you know you want to do or to explore opportunities and see what suits your interests and education. Whichever reason you have, it is important to acknowledge that the organization you are working for is doing actual work, this is what they do and you should support their work as best you can. If you discover that this is not the field for you, try to do your best with the time you are spending there – you can still learn a lot.
I am lucky enough to have an internship that complements my interests and my education. I have done some volunteering at the local Red Cross office in Norway so I knew that this field is of interest. Additionally I studied anthropology and comparative religion in my BA and I am now doing an MSc in Globalization: global politics and culture. My thesis is connected to refugee issues, and I am able to use the knowledge I gain both in academic work but it will (hopefully) also be beneficial as soon as I graduate and will look for a job.
What do you do?
The work you are doing will be different for each person and company. It depends on how the company is organized; some offices have straightforward rules about what kind of tasks interns do, while others are more open for suggestions. RIJ is of the latter kind. The tasks will also be dependent on your skills and your education. Whereas someone who is skilled in event organization and management can contribute greatly in such work, a person who is educated in law and politics may be more suitable for report analysis and office tasks. That being said, it is important to be open enough to try everything the internship can offer. A law student may be the best event organizer you’ve ever met.
I have been doing pretty much everything in my internship. I have read reports and given feedback, I have organized old files and updated records and project results, I have worked with social media, taken pictures at events, organized a concert at Suntory Hall in November 2014, attended meetings and taken notes, expressed my opinion on project proposals, and represented RIJ at different events. I have worked with people of all ages, from all over the world.
I chose to apply for an internship at RIJ because of the organization’s transparency, the core values, as well as the small size and flexibility of RIJ. Though this internship I have learned a lot. I have met some amazing people of all ages and nationalities, and I have gained more knowledge about refugee issues around the world – knowledge that textbooks cannot give.