Interning with International Service
University of York student, Mairi Clarkson, recently spent 5 weeks interning with IGDC partner, International Service, at their offices based in York. Here is what she has to say about the experience.
I am in my final year at the University of York studying Applied Social Sciences and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to complete a five week research project alongside my undergraduate studies with International Service, a UK based international development charity. International Service is an NGO partner of the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre and is considering expanding its operations into a developing country in Europe. The Republic of Moldova and the Republic of North Macedonia were shortlisted as potential candidates and to assist the decision, I prepared an analysis and comparison of the development context in both countries.
The comparisons involved the analysis of poverty levels and priority areas/groups most in need, investigating political context and risks associated with operating in those countries, as well as carrying out assessments of potential partner organisations in both countries. The final report included information on the treatment of vulnerable groups within the countries including women, minority groups, disabled people, and children. Additionally, socio-economic factors that affect the position of these groups in society were taken into consideration. These factors included unemployment rates, societal expectations and consequences, access to government services and assistance and regional variations. I will present the final report to the board of trustees later on in May concluding that though both countries face significant challenges, there are a range of excellent organisations working in both countries that would benefit from International Service’s partnership.
The internship has been a fantastic opportunity to gain an insight into the third sector as well as to gain practical experience of research and data gathering. The project allowed me to see what kind of roles and careers are available within the sector. One particularly beneficial outcome was getting more of an idea of what a job in the sector might entail day to day, knowledge I could have only gained from working within the office. Additionally, I was able to gain an understanding of the development context within Europe, including a view of the relationship between large governing bodies like national governments and the European Union, and development organisations and charities. This insight was especially rewarding as I have an academic interest European policy and am currently completing my dissertation on a comparative analysis of the implementation of social investment embedded in EU policy and its effect on gender equality. Additionally, I hope to do a Masters in Comparative Social Policy once I have completed my undergraduate degree. Many of the courses I am now considering offer a development pathway which I had originally overlooked due to a lack of awareness of the sector. This experience has shown me that a career in the international development sector is both achievable and would be highly rewarding.
I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity. It could not have been with a better organisation or better people. The project was fascinating and I was supported fully along the way by the team in York. It was a real privilege to work with such an established development organisation and to work towards something that will have substantive impact.
‘This experience has shown me that a career in the international development sector is both achievable and would be highly rewarding.’