Remote Internship Story: Sema Merve Is

Name of intern: Sema Merve Is 

CEU department and program: Department of Public Policy, MA in Public Policy

Year of graduation: 2021 

Name of internship host organization:IOM Egypt

Name of unit you interned at organization: Migration Health Division

Role: Migration Health Intern 


What did you do during your internship? Can you describe a typical day at work? 

During the internship with IOM Egypt my responsibilities were diverse and exposed me to the different aspects of project development at an international organization. I developed concept notes and proposals for new migration health projects on Covid-19 response and on reproductive health topics to improve access by vulnerable groups to Egyptian health services. In addition, I worked on improving existing data collection and evidence-based knowledge about current Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practices among migrant communities and host community members in Egypt. I also developed a survey for a study on migrants’ knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) on FGM. Writing reports on projects and project implementation was also an important part of my daily work. Despite the remote set-up, I felt quite engaged with the IOM Egypt Office and professionally supported by my colleagues.    

How did the internship help you implement your previous experience and your knowledge gained at CEU?  

Before starting the master’s in public policy at CEU, I worked for years in the refugee support field for civil society organizations in Turkey. I used the professional skills gained as a migration specialist in development and humanitarian aid programs and combined them with the academic knowledge acquired at CEU to support IOM Egypt in developing and supporting migration health projects in North Africa. The CEU courses “Migration and Migration Governance” and “International and European Refugee Policy and Law” were inspiring and among the most useful courses. The internship also expanded my global network. 

What did you learn through this internship? How will this internship help you in your career?

This internship entirely met my learning goals. While gaining exposure to the migration context in Egypt and the UN migration working context, I was responsible for developing new concept notes, project proposals, and reports for the migration health division by conducting research and improving the existing evidence-based data in Egypt. My main motivation in working for IOM Egypt was anchored in seeking practical solutions to the challenges faced by migrants and to better contribute to the transformation and improvement of projects oriented towards migrants. The knowledge, tools, and capabilities I acquired via this IOM Egypt internship experience leave me better equipped, in my future career, to develop effective projects and formulate sustainable solutions under the impact of Covid-19 and advocate with governments about migration policies in the long run. 

What is your advice to current students who are thinking of doing an internship?

I would strongly encourage CEU graduates to apply for an internship at IOM Offices worldwide, especially if they seek a career in the field of migration, which is an excellent occasion to gain exposure to the UN migration system and a fulfilling entry point into this field.  

The 2020-21 collaboration between IOM and CEU and the support available through the Internship Support Program (ISP) Fund provided an outstanding opportunity to gain this professional experience in the field of migration.