It is April 2015 already?! Studying & Internship Hunt – Some Reflections

Since the new year started I have neglected my blog, I had several ideas what to write about in between but I never felt I have the inner calmness nor the time to really get at it. It feels like a lot and not much at the same time has happened in the last four months. I studied a lot, I got a mean flu virus which made me be bound to my bed for a few weeks, I went to Budapest to visit my dearest Marie, I made plans –well I tried to make plans – for my upcoming internship in September and I had my beloved mother visit me here in Sweden over Easter. I meant to go to Germany as well but didn’t find  the time and will now go in May for a family reunion event instead.

My studies go well, however, I don’t like my current course very much (Theories of Social Sciences) so I catch myself frequently dreaming away about the future. In one year and two month I will be finished with my Master Studies (if everything goes according to plan) and I will enter the “grown-up-working-world.” When browsing some current job vacancies which sound interesting to me (that currently is conflict and security analysis, project management in different areas of conflict resolution etc.) I painfully have to admit that without much working experience in those fields you don’t get very far. The highlight in my browsing was a job vacancy by the UN for a position as a chief of branch in political affairs, and it stated; “required work experience a minimum of fifteen years in international relations, political affairs, conflict resolution, preventive diplomacy or peacebuilding.”

So far I can “proudly” say I have (next to little jobs and continuous volunteering) 5 months of work experience in the field, acquired during my internship in Jerusalem at the NGO CDCD in winter 2013/2014.  So when sitting in another lecture, in which yet another teacher blabbers something about which kind of epistemic approach can be found in that and that theory I tend to feel restless about my future. Yet I shouldn’t forget that a master’s degree in the field I am interested in is kind of vital. All the jobs I have looked at so far (e.g. at the UN) require a masters degree. So I am pretty certain I am doing the right thing which I have to remind myself from time to time, and especially, in the rather uninspiring course I am currently involved in.

At the moment I am searching for an internship placement for the coming September for 5 months as a part of my studies, which turns out to be a bigger challenge than it was during my Bachelor Studies. Well, admittedly back then I was incredibly lucky. I sent one application to an organization which sounded interesting, which then only a few weeks later accepted me. And not only that, it was an amazing place to work and I learned a lot. Working in East Jerusalem also strengthened my interested towards the Middle Eastern region. Already before I did most of my research about conflict in this region and since quite while I have focused most of my papers on conflicts in the region as well. So you can guess where I would like to do my next internship, yes indeed, in the Middle East.

I applied to several organizations in Beirut, Lebanon but have not heard back from them yet. I had also applied to a great organization in Bahrain however it turned out that the placement would be in their office in Copenhagen. I still consider doing that, but to be perfectly honest I would like to go somewhere further away.

I feel fairly stressed about finding an internship at the moment, however, I think I am more stressed than I actually have to be simply due to the group pressure which unavoidably is created when all the students in one class almost every day talk about it. “Have you heard anything back yet?” “I have sent x amount of applications“(many more than I did…), “I have gotten an internship” and so on. I think this is a very normal phenomenon but I can’t help it to get more stressed even though time wise I am apparently still doing pretty okay. Many internship calls for coming autumn are not even published yet and several other deadlines are not till the end of April/beginning on May. Still, being spoiled by my smooth experience with applying to my last internship, I feel a little uneasy for now.  But I am also sure that I will find something suitable in time. Gotta get started to accumulate those 15 years work experience don’t I? 😉

Sometimes I think about some trips I have done , road trip through Morocco, road trip through Jordan and the road trip through the Westbank and Israel/Palestine and then I just want to escape little Malmö and get out into the world. Admittedly though Malmö gets a lot nicer now that spring slowly hits. The sun comes out more often, the ever-lasting Swedish winter darkness has disappeared and the temperature got up a little. I look forward to the summer, to being outside, to hopefully travelling and to have this semester done in the beginning of June. Then it’s one year down, one to go!

Everyone who reads this who is currently searching for an internship or a job or simply tries to figure out their future; You will manage it, the best things in life take some time, so don’t get discouraged 🙂