Publishing Summer Internship at the International Labour OfficeIn the second of our reports from MA in Publishing students on international internships, we hear from Helen Habernickel, who has been working at the International Labour Office in Geneva.
'While I was at home in Germany regaining some strength after the New Product Development presentations - and of course the PG Pubbers' summer party, I got a phone call from Geneva. My soon-to-be supervisor Lauren informed me that I got the placement and that I could start at the ILO in June!
'That left me with just a few weeks to get a health insurance for Switzerland, buy flight tickets and most importantly to find a room to put all my precious Primark purchases. Luckily I didn't need to apply for a visa to enter the Alpine country.
'My language preparation had to be cut down to a French phrase book that comfortably fitted into the smallest of my (Primark) purses. But then I thought: Geneva is the European capital of international affairs. Surely everyone would speak English or at least Swiss German, right?
'Mmn, well on 15 June I leaned that this was a false assumption, but that the friends I was about to make among the ranks of international students and interns would bridge the language gap between my "Bonjour/Merci-French" and the very Francophile Genevans.
'My new workplace: the International Labour Office is a specialised UN agency "which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognised human and labour rights". Admittedly that doesn't sound like the mission statement of a major publishing company. But the ILO annually publishes some 100 books, reports, training manuals, CD-ROMs, videos and e-books and the majority of them are at least available in English, French and Spanish.
'And it is in this huge grey building situated on a hill (mountain to English eyes) with a clear view of Mont Blanc where you meet the cosmopolitan people that Geneva is renowned for. And they speak English!
'My intern role is twofold which is why I got two supervisors: Lauren for my Marketing personality and Charlotte to nurture my Rights ambitions. I have to admit though that returning to a full-time job after a year of living a student life involved a lot of Redbulls, black-black coffees and Guarana pills. But challenging projects, super nice colleagues and the beautiful city of Geneva in summer more than made up for the heightened caffeine intake.
'I am very pleased to have seized this opportunity and that I have learned so much here - both in terms of marketing publications and in terms of rights management, I met the most interesting people and I even got a bit of a tan...
'So all there's left for me to say is: Apply for an internship with the ILO (and take a bigger dictionary with you)!'
Helen was working in the Department of Communications and Public Information at ILO Publications. Her work while there included writing a benchmarking report on the functionality and pricing strategy of other UN, governmental and foundation websites; evaluating ILO's performance on Google Print and on Amazon websites; and researching a new collecting society (copyright agency).
See here for Kay Peddle's report from the World Bank in Washington.
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