I started my internship with RIJ in June this year. For these 3 months, it has been the most challenging and rewarding experience for me.
In my third year, I majored in International Law and Global Affairs. This course allows me to understand the importance of international organizations in the policy-making process. However, I wanted to learn about international affairs from a non-legal perspective hence I began searching for NGO internship opportunities. I found out about RIJ after reading a blog post titled “What matters in an Internship: Reconceptualizing the NGO Sector”. I also watched a YouTube video interview with Jane Best, RIJ’s Executive Director, which inspired me to apply for an internship in RIJ.
I was very fortunate to have been interviewed at Edinburgh, where I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree. Having the face-to-face interview with Angie Alexander, RIJ’s international funding coordinator, was extremely important to me. Angie is a very passionate individual that is committed to charity work. The conversation that we had allowed me to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of RIJ’s work. I was prepared to support RIJ even if I didn’t land an internship with RIJ. Fortunately, I managed to contribute in an official capacity as an intern.
This internship has allowed me to overcome my weaknesses. Throughout high school and university, I have always avoided to take up positions such as public relations and social media management because I was uncomfortable with the idea of putting my work out in public. On my first day, I panicked when Jane told me that my responsibility as an intern is to manage RIJ’s social media platforms. All I was thinking about was, “How am I going to manage this?”. I was really nervous about submitting my draft social media post. However, Jane always takes the time to explain my mistakes and her suggestions. As time went by, I became more confident when I wrote my posts.
Overall, the exposure that you can gain from this internship is unique. I have also achieved many things that I never thought that I could. I had an opportunity to write the minutes for RIJ’s board meeting. On World Refugee Day, RIJ organized a workshop where I got to meet Vincent Lee, the author of ‘Father Missed His Plane’. His story of being a refugee was very inspiring. He is a great example of how refugees can positively contribute to the society they live in. I also networked with volunteers from different professional fields during RIJ events. Besides that, I am very grateful that Jane gave me the opportunity to edit the Annual Review and draft RIJ’s new profile on Global Giving. Moreover, I was also able to turn my childhood passion into professional use. Graphic design was a mere hobby of mine and I have used these skills to create infographics that are going to be in the Annual Review. I also felt a huge sense of achievement when I have accumulated enough points to promote RIJ’s Global Giving profile from Leader to the Super Star status.
To me, the highlight of this internship was to see how all these people that I have met are connected to RIJ and to learn about their role in RIJ. Although my internship with RIJ has ended, I believe that my role in RIJ continues. I will use my own network and resources to support RIJ. RIJ has many volunteer opportunities that are potentially beneficial to student organizations, such as fundraising with RIJ on Global Giving. Although I have already established a network between RIJ and the Japanese society at my University, I hope to link more student groups to RIJ.
Lastly, thank you RIJ for this unforgettable experience! I am glad that I could make a little difference with what I could offer.