Name: XU Di, Julia
BBA (Hons) in Financial Services
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Position: Executive Support Intern of United Nations Development Programme
Duration: August 2018 – September 2018 (1 month)
Sponsorship: United Nations Peace Development Foundation
Supervisor: Devanand Ramiah
I would like to firstly express my appreciation to my school PolyU as a bridge for guiding me into this honorable organization United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in China, and also to Peace and Development Foundation (PDF) for providing the monthly allowance to support the financial issues. Although the internship period was shortened to one-month because of my personal unexpected arrangement, the skills and treasures I have obtained in UNDP were far beyond my expectation. As an executive support team member, the three most impressive fields during this internship are sort out as below.
Dynamic colleagues and working environment
It is undoubted for me that the most valuable one gained in UNDP is the relationship built with the colleagues here. My supervisor Mr. Devanand tried to understand my background first before assigning the related jobs to me which would quite match my finance major and give full play to my strong points. He is patient enough to guide subordinates and give sufficient development potential to us. Although he is quite professional when organizing the UNDP affairs, he is full of humor and energy like the majority of the personnel in the office. Other miscellaneous things allocated also trained my hard skills from multi-angles, such as audio recognition and document integration.
Another in-charge Mr.SUN is the one who gave me most direct assistance and inspiration. He encouraged me to attend the other department meeting as much as possible which should originally be beyond my scope of privilege to comprehensively stretch myself. Furthermore, he also serves as my perfect example via his own behavior. For instance, he took the initiative to summarize more than 200 abbreviations used by UN for all-organization convenience when he was an intern.
Regarding to other colleagues, they are more like endless treasure in my opinion, with plenty of innovative ideas and enthusiasm. All of them have some superior points than others, such as the prestigious university background, start-up business experiences or multilingual skills. It is no exaggeration to say that I can learn from every one of my working partners. Besides the workplace, we also built close friendship during off hours and enjoy the amusement park together.
Diversified development opportunities and resources
As an inevitable outcome of the vibrant colleagues and surroundings, various opportunities are generated to benefit the staff here including interns. I was also blessed with the chance to participate in some of those. During the 2018 FOCAC period, ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres came to UNDP China and shook hands with every staff. Furthermore, we can also met the young environmentalist face-to-face and understood the power of our peers from these “Young Champions of the Earth” elected by UN Environment.
Besides the external activities, internal self-review and self-improvement are also held regularly. Retreat meeting will take place periodically for the purpose of updating the on-going project progress. As an executive support team intern, I was given many chances to attend the meeting and summarize the meeting minutes or reports accordingly, as a result I got a basic idea about how each department works separately and how the fund chain flows across different entities. In addition to these updating meeting, a few sharing and discussion session named “Brown Bag Session” are open to all staff in UNDP as well. The contents of this kind of session include the expert sharing such as “Turkey Crisis”, and also include the self-reflection part such as discussing how to optimize the UNDP internal recording system collaboratively. Through these sharing and interactions, I not only catch up with the current political situation more or less, but also learn to take the initiative and review myself instead of following seniors’ instructions only.
Future directions for further development
The working environment in UNDP is extremely open-ended and mutually respectful. Every staff here from all ages have their individual dreams as well as world-class dreams, and have the motivations to chase their dreams. Even each security guard would remember the staff here and greet everyone passing by. I think I have determined my desirable working place and living style through this internship, and fell in love with Beijing, this thriving city.
By the end of this internship, I am better at thinking about an issue from a bigger and broader perspective like the whole community impact instead of myself only, being more sensitive to the real-time changing world affairs instead of myself only, and making me understand and respect other different people more instead of myself only. All of these should thank to UNDP China and helpful surrounding friends!