Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Internship at the United Nations: Putting To Use What I learned In The Classroom

Students who complete their year at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe work an internship during the summer. These internships are a great way for students to gain work experience in a field they are interested in as well as an opportunity to work on different projects while learning about a new country and culture. Below, Michelle LeMeur, a first year MA student at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe concentrating in International Development, tells us about her experience at the United Nations in Bangkok, Thailand.

Sawasdee-ka from Bangkok!
Exhibit to end violence against women

After falling in love with Southeast Asia in 2015 while teaching English in Malaysia, I was committed to returning to the region this summer. I was thrilled to secure an internship at UN
Women’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, where I am working across several teams. During my first few weeks, I contributed to an analysis of UN Women partner governments and organizations being done by the Strategic Partnerships team. This week, I have been helping the Communications and Ending Violence Against Women teams prepare for an upcoming exhibit where the clothing of victims of sexual assault will be displayed to challenge the misconception that appearance and behavior are to blame for sexual violence. Moving forward, I will be supporting the Migration team as they work on a new regional strategy; primarily, I will be reviewing and synthesizing UN Women reports and other work products related to migration in the Asia Pacific region.

Pride Month at the U.S. Embassy
It has been exciting to use and reinforce much of what I learned in various courses this year, particularly Labor Market Policies in Developing Countries, Asian Economic Development, and Theories & Models of Economic
Development. In fact, I am in the midst of summarizing several reports I used in these classes for the migration project mentioned above. In addition, I have been able to attend several workshops and events, including an introduction to a new Inclusive Systemic Evaluation Guide and Pride Month events at the Australian and American Embassies.

Aside from familiarizing myself with UN Women’s work in the region and gaining an understanding of the UN system more broadly, I am enjoying exploring Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. I am learning to strategically time plans around Bangkok’s infamous traffic and am currently researching the best places to scuba dive in July, which is monsoon season throughout much of the region. And I can’t forget to mention the incredibly delicious food – while I am still ordering everything “medium-spicy,” I am (slowly) working up to “Thai-spicy”. Wish me luck!

Michelle LeMeur
SAIS Europe 2018
MA International Development

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