New York, it’s been a pleasure!

New York, it’s been a pleasure!

This article was written by Claire Grant from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, published on 1st December 2011 and has been read 27838 times.

As I approach the last stage of my internship with the UN and my final few weeks in New York City, I have been trying to establish some good contacts and gain valuable career advice for the future. While the work I have been doing for the Peacekeeping department of the UN has certainly been interesting, the most useful lessons I have learned have definitely come from having an insight into the UN as a whole, the inspirational people I have met and the exciting experience of living in the wonderful city that is New York.

My UN Internship Highlights

Meeting and having my photo taken in the UN General Assembly Hall with Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Asha-Rose Migiro. Listening to Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon speak live at a Security Council Debate. Sitting in an English interpreting booth listening to UN interpreters at work. 

As a languages graduate, I was keen to gain an insight into the work of UN linguists during my internship. Although I did not work with any translators or interpreters directly, I asked around and used the UN staff directories to get in touch with some. Everyone was very helpful and actually offered to meet me for lunch to discuss their work and give me some career advice. Through my landlady, who works as a UN interpreter in the Spanish section, I was introduced to some interpreters working in the English booth. I was lucky enough to sit in one of the booths while they were working and listen to them which was so exciting. It was a real “pinch-yourself” moment. The head of the English interpreters also offered to listen to me interpreting which was such an honour, although probably one of the most nerve-wracking meetings of my life! Never in a million years did I think I would have an opportunity like that when I came here, so I’m glad I said yes to all of those meetings. So if you’re about to start a new internship, have your business cards, CVs and enthusiasm ready, you never know what chances will come your way when you least expect them. 

My NYC Highlights

Seeing my favourite singer, Taylor Swift, play live at the iconic Madison Square Garden. Watching the world-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with fellow UN interns from all over the world. The breathtaking view of the city from the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Centre. 

Although it may seem like a mere cliché, not dissimilar to a year abroad, an internship is what you make of it. Coming to New York on my own wasn’t easy but it has been a great professional and personal experience which I will always be able to look back on in the future. Of course, there were times when I felt homesick (British expat heaven Tea and Sympathy in New York’s West Village saved the day), but this is normal, and never lasted long. From the moment I saw that famous skyline from the air, New York City has amazed me in so many ways. Although my time here has been short, I have learnt a lot and hope that this experience will enable me to begin a successful career at home.

I’m happy for future New York interns or year abroad students to contact me with specific questions or comments – please feel free to email me, [email protected]

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