Trial by Fire

Coming to the end of my three-month internship with the United Nations, I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone, if they can, should have an internship in New York. Besides the whole galavanting about the best city in the world, here is the reason why:

As an intern in Chicago and Brussels before this, I was always given plenty of work and opportunities. My views were heard, and I enjoyed my work whether it was financial writing or public affairs. But something is quite different about my internship in New York: I don’t necessarily feel like an intern. Perhaps this is United Nations specific, but I am given the same level of work as anyone else in the office whether it is attending conferences to writing proposals to even re-designing one of the program’s websites. I am given a level of responsibility that I was never really given before in my previous internships.

The one downturn to this responsibility is it is truly “trial by fire.” No one necessarily gives you direction in New York; you have to be able to learn quickly and be able to do almost any task given. And although this “trial by fire” period has been tough, I am not sure if I am ready to return to school. After seven months of being an intern, here and abroad, I like working and seeing my ideas grow into reality. New York was tough at times, but I have to say I wouldn’t have gained the same level of knowledge or experience anywhere else.

So if I have any advice for future New York interns, it would be to work hard and not worry about the “trial by fire” period. Do your best, and know that New York is giving you more experience than you would’ve gained anywhere else. It’s all a part of the New York experience; no one is going to give you an easy time. And as I said in my first blog post, aren’t we all The Devil Wears Prada intern at some point during our stay in New York? You might not want that type of environment forever, but the experience is invaluable and who knows… you might just be the one testing interns with fire one day.

– Harriet White

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