13.11.2013 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Intern at UNESCO: Laura Schilz, a student at Ludwig Maximilian University, talks about her own experience

©Laura Schilz

We have conducted an interview with Laura Schilz, a student in Economics from Germany who joined us in August. Laura applied for a 3-month internship at the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe based in Venice (Italy) following her participation in the Venice International University’s Globalization Programme which brings together talented, motivated students from member universities to Venice. Laura completed her internship within our Science Unit in October.

What is your background and, what were the reasons that motivated your choice to intern at UNESCO?

I am studying Economics at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich in Germany and for my exchange semester abroad I decided to participate in the Globalization Programme at the Venice International University (VIU) with a focus on Environmental Management and Sustainable Development. We had the opportunity to apply for internship in a company or an organization in the field of sustainable development within VIU’s internship programme. As I was greatly interested in gaining work experiences in an international organization, I applied for an internship at the UNESCO Office in Venice.

What did you gain from your internship? What were the most important aspects?

I learnt a lot about the areas of work and the different programmes of UNESCO. At times when UNESCO is mentioned in conversations, people say ‘Oh really, that is the organization of the World Heritage sites, right?’. Yet, there are so many other fascinating programmes and aspects of the organization that are not as notorious, like the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme which I was involved in. During my internship I met outstanding people among my colleagues and I am very grateful to them for having had the opportunity to work with them and for their openness and kindness. Apart from the required working languages (English and French), I was also able to use and improve my knowledge of Italian. I learnt a great deal about the structure of UNESCO as an international organization and as a specialized agency of the United Nations, particularly as a result of being involved in a project on Expo 2015 in Milan: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, attending a variety of conferences, events, and an ordinary session of the Scientific Council of the Office.

What are your plans for the future and how will your internship influence your choices?

For the time being, I will finish my studies at my home university. My internship has reinforced my interest in combining economics with other aspects. Thus, I would very much like to start a Master’s degree programme in a more interdisciplinary field of studies. Finally, the internship has further strengthened my ambition to work in an international environment.  I see my future in this direction and I am looking forward to gaining more work experiences in internationally-oriented institutions and organizations.

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