Name of intern: Nina Melkonyan
CEU department and program: School of Public Policy, MA in Public Policy and Administration
Year of graduation: 2021
Name of internship host organization: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Name of unit you interned at organization: UNDP Armenia Country Office
Role: Intern for Rule of Law, Justice and HR cluster, UNDP (remote internship)
What did you do during your internship? Can you describe a typical day in the office?
This was my first remote internship. I was based in Budapest and my colleagues mostly in Yerevan, Armenia. Most days included meetings and tasks to complete based on what was discussed. I liked the flexibility of remote work as it gave me more room to structure my own schedule. My tasks varied greatly. Sometimes, I was asked to research policies and provide briefs based on the research. Other times, I was asked to coordinate purchase requests and even had a chance to write Terms of Reference (ToRs) and engage with work conducted by the consultants hired for a particular project. My experiences were diverse and comprehensive, which is what I liked the most. It not only gave me the knowledge and the skills I was seeking, but my internship experience also provided me with an insider understanding of how international organizations such as the UN function.
How did the internship help you implement your previous experience and your knowledge gained at CEU?
I was very surprised to see how my classes at CEU were directly related to some of the work I did for UNDP Armenia. Researching policies and writing policy briefs is an excellent example of how I was able to combine the skills I learned in CEU with real-life work. I also was able to successfully work on multiple tasks that were very different in nature. Being at CEU, multitasking, and being able to focus on different skills certainly helped me to take away more from my internship.
How will this internship help you in your career?
I am interested in pursuing a career in the field of development, specifically working on policies that will help impoverished communities grow and prosper. Interning at UNDP was an important step in my career path as it allowed me to observe how one of the largest development organizations functions. Working on projects and learning about their funding process gave me key insights that will help me in my job search after graduation. The internship also contributed to my professional network as I got to work with some amazing individuals.
What is your advice to current students who are thinking of doing an internship?
Don’t hesitate to do a remote internship, as the experience and the skills you gain will be as valuable as those gained through an in-person internship. I recommend reaching out to the organizations you are interested in, whether they have an open vacancy or not. This was my strategy, and it has worked well.