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Students abroad: Anna in New York

9. 2. 2023

Can you tell us something about yourself? What do you study?

I am currently enrolled in the International Security Studies (Bezpečnostní studia) Master program run by the Institute of Political Studies. I’m also doing a Ph.D. in International Law at the Faculty of Law.   

What made you decide for the internship rather than for an exchange stay? 

I participated in a study exchange program during my undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Law. This time, also given the fact that I’ve already finished my first degree, I felt I want to try something more practical.

Where did you do your internship?

At the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations in New York City.

Where did you learn about this possibility?

I’ve been aware of this possibility for a long time, I think someone shared the link to a Facebook group. Some of my friends also did this internship before I applied so I had someone to talk to about it.

How was the application and then the selection process? 

The Mission asked for a CV and a motivation letter. Every diplomat at the Mission is responsible for the agenda of one of the six committees of the United Nations General Assembly. In the application, you have to indicate which committee you prefer. The selection is then up to each diplomat.

Internships are unpaid so how difficult was it per the financial side? It is not always possible to apply for the CU Mobility Funding so this I suppose can make things even more complicated. 

New York is one of the most expensive cities to live in so staying there with no income for three months was definitely not easy. I received financial support from the Faculty of Social Sciences for which I’m very grateful and it helped me a lot. However, before leaving, I still had to accept that this experience will cost me almost all my savings. On the other hand, it was also a motivation to really make the most of the opportunity and now I know it was all very worth it.

Could you share your daily work responsibilities? 

Most of the days I attended the 6th (legal) committee meetings and wrote reports from the debate. I also went to the informal meetings of the committee, where the member states debated resolution proposals, which was very interesting. From time to time, I also accompanied our permanent representative to his bilateral meetings.

Tell us something regarding your first days. Any acclimatization problem or culture shocks?

Not really, even though it was my first time in the US. It took me some time to get used to the piles of trash in the streets, the rats, or very weird scenes in the subway but I learned to accept New York the way it is, and I love it.

Would you share with us your favourite memory/experience? 

It’s a paradox, but my favorite moment wasn’t in New York but at the Czech Embassy in Washington. I went there to see my friends who performed at the Christmas Market, and at one point in the afternoon, we were introduced to Jana Kánská, the daughter of Milada Horáková.

Would you recommend this internship to other students? 


Looking back at your internship, would you do anything differently?

I must admit that my studies suffered a bit because I didn’t plan the semester very well, the time difference also didn’t help. In the end I decided to concentrate fully on the internship, so I didn’t even pass the few subjects I signed up for.

What is/are the most valuable thing/s that you learned or gained? 

I met so many interesting people I could learn so much from, especially international law experts who are like celebrities to me and I only knew them from Twitter, but also interns from other countries and experienced Czech and foreign diplomats.

Sometimes students do not want to go on an exchange as they do not want to leave their comfort zone. What would you tell such students?

That it’s a shame and they’re robbing themselves of a great opportunity.

What’s next? You are in your final year of your Master studies. What are your plans after you finish your studies?

I’m not sure, my studies got a bit stuck, so I need to catch up. With the new experience from the Mission, I’m also considering career in diplomacy.

Thank you!

Do you want to go abroad as Anna did? Check out the current outgoing opportunities.