BY CHRISTINA CONNELLY
BOLOGNA, Italy — On a recent career trek, 21 SAIS Europe students traveled from Bologna to the international city of Geneva, Switzerland for two days of meetings with various international organizations.
This trip was an opportunity for SAIS students to learn more about the many multilateral and nongovernmental institutions located in Geneva, explore internship opportunities and gain valuable insight from SAIS alumni working in Geneva.
For two days, students waded through the alphabet soup of organizations in Europe’s diplomatic hub, specifically the WTO, UNHCR, OHCHR, IOM, ITC, The GAVI Alliance, and the International Environment house, which hosts UNEP, ICSTD, IISD, and the WFP.
The diversity of organizations visited exemplifies the diverse interests of SAIS students and the different fields those students enter after graduation. The World Trade Organization was one of many trade organizations visited and students were advised by the SAIS alumni conducting the meeting that those with a background in law or an interest and specialization in economics may be in a good position to apply for an internship.
Students also had the opportunity to visit many humanitarian organizations, including a handful of United Nations agencies. A meeting with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) involved a discussion between students and IOM staff on issues of migration, a topic of interest to so many international relations students, especially those currently enrolled in Professor Jessen-Petersen’s Migration and Security course at SAIS Europe.
The SAIS students on the trip were fortunate enough to be hosted by families, thanks to SAIS alumni in the area. The trip culminated with a cocktail party at one of the alum’s homes in France. The guest speaker of the night was a professor from the Graduate Institute of Geneva, who discussed migration, and gave another opportunity for students to show their knowledge of and passion for the subject.
A hub of global finance and multilateral organizations, Geneva is perfect for those who want to work and live in an international environment among a vibrant expatriate community. Having a working proficiency of French is useful if you wish to work for one of the organizations located in the city, but knowledge of one of the other United Nations’ official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish) is beneficial as well. Speaking to students assembled for the trip, SAIS alumni pressed students to focus on their studies while at SAIS but also to follow their interests. Students interested in internships at any of the organizations are encouraged to visit their websites to learn about the deadlines as well as to tailor their CV’s to each type of internship they apply for.