Meet United Nations Intern, Aamna Rashid!

Edited by: Jina Aryaan 


Meet Aamna Rashid!

Age: 21

Major: Peace, Conflict & Justice with a minor in History and Diaspora and Transnational Studies. 

Hobbies: Reading [fiction] books, petting my cats, online shopping. 

How did you come across the UN internship position and what drove you to apply? 

I wanted to gain some practical work experience over the summer before my fourth year, and the United Nations of course went hand in hand with my major, and so it was one of the first internships I applied for. There were hundreds of internships available with the UN, so I had to really narrow them down to the positions I was interested in, qualified for and to locations I could realistically live in. I ended up being offered two internships, one with the Department of Public Information and one with the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth. I accepted the offer from the Department of Public Information because I felt that I would get more out of a 6-month internship.  

What does this internship position entail? 

Interning at the Department of Public Information is essentially acting as a liaison between the United Nations and the general public. So on a normal day, I do a lot of research and report writing on international issues and UN resolutions. My Department also does outreach work to promote the Sustainable Development Goals and other UN resolutions such as Remember Slavery and International Day of Peace. 

Living in NYC, how has that been? 

I've wanted to live in New York since I was about 9 years old, so it really is a dream come true. I got to attend a show at Carnegie Hall, run a 5K through midtown Manhattan and got to see my first Yankee's game! New York is especially beautiful in the holiday season with all the skating rinks and the festive window displays. I really got a glimpse into what it's like to be a New Yorker and putting the horrendous MTA delays aside, it's really been the experience of a lifetime. 

What has been your most memorable experience while working at the UN? 

Working at the Secretariat, every day is pretty incredible but I think the General Assembly week in September definitely takes the cake for most memorable. During General Assembly week, every day was crazier than the last. Casually ending up in elevators with world leaders and top diplomats was the norm. Seeing celebrities walk by you in hallways was nothing unusual. Completely insane.  

Has this experience changed you or the way you think, in any way? If so, how? 

As strange as it may sound, I see the world as a bigger place now. Although I'd been exposed to the international community as a University of Toronto student, it was nothing quite at the scale of the United Nations Secretariat. There were people from cultures and backgrounds that I was completely unaware of. The entire building was this unique blend of cultures and backgrounds and it was really nice to see everyone working towards a common goal. With that being said, I feel like I am now more aware of how diverse our world is and more optimistic that despite these differences, working together for good is possible.    

Any advice for people who would be interested in applying for this internship position in the future? 

Yes! Remember to research the position before you apply. As I said before, I applied for two internships with the United Nations and I ended up getting both of them. This was because out of hundreds of internships, I only applied to positions that I felt were relevant to my previous experience and emphasized that in my application. Randomly applying for positions that do not match your experience or career aspirations will not be helpful. 

The United Nations is a huge organization. They have internships in the field, in their offices and also in their Missions. The Mission internships, I have come to learn, are very rewarding. You don't have to be a national of the Mission you're applying to and these internships offer more advantages like a Delegates badge for virtually complete access to the United Nations and even language classes if you want to pick up a new language. If I were to go back and intern again, I would definitely try for one of those internships! 

All in all, interning at the United Nations has been an unforgettable experience that really allowed me to see the international community in action. I look forward to continuing my education and gaining more experience in this field!