2023 Internship Report - Alicia Yuen
Name: Alicia Yuen
Degree: Bachelor of Arts
University: University of Hong Kong
Position: Communications Intern
UN Host Agency: Resident Coordinator Office, China
Duration: June 2023 – December 2023 (6 months)
Supervisor: Louise Xi Li
Assignment: Support the development, translation and editing of communications materials, including website content, press releases, social media posts, speeches, and other media/social media or related articles in English and Chinese. Facilitate on-site communications activity set-up, including photo-taking, podcast recording, press conferences, video shooting etc. Support team members in coordinating inter-agency and high-level meetings or events organized through the UN Communications Group.
I am very grateful for being selected as a communications intern to serve the UN Resident Coordinator Office (RCO) in Beijing thanks to the generous support of the UN Peace and Development Foundation. The primary role of the Office was to support the work of the highest representative of the UN in China – the UN Resident Coordinator in China, who coordinates UN operational activities for development at the country level for national priorities and capacity building. Thanks to the unique role of RCO in the UN system, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to gain broad exposure to high-level events while learning about the work of different UN entities at the same time. This internship experience was far beyond my expectations, and I learned a lot along the way.
My responsibilities as an intern could be divided into two categories: providing onsite communications support to the Resident Coordinator and RCO events and performing routine communications team tasks. As the multi-media focal point of the team, I was responsible for tasks such as coordinating the Resident Coordinator’s video messages, and photographing events. Additionally, I regularly updated the UN in China website with speeches, press releases and stories, as well as managed the social media and video accounts of the office as part of the communications team’s routine work. I had the chance to assist with high-level visits of the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General, which was an eye-opening experience I had never imagined being able to take part in.
One of the biggest highlights of my internship was assisting in organizing the annual event, the 2023 UN Day. We had over 170 guests in attendance at the UN Compound to celebrate the theme of Act Now for the Sustainable Development Goals. Through this process, I learned valuable skills in external communication and event management by coordinating with service providers and managing RSVPs. Another role that I greatly benefited from was serving as the secretary of the UN Communications Group. The group allowed communication colleagues from different UN entities to share their recent projects and discuss matters of common interest. It provided me with an opportunity to learn from the work of other UN entities and gain a comprehensive understanding of the UN’s work in China. As someone passionate about making a positive impact on the world, I found working at the UN to be meaningful and rewarding.
The best part of the internship was collaborating with a group of kind and thoughtful colleagues. My supervisor, Louise, was an inspiring team leader who consistently demonstrated professionalism and remarkable abilities. I learned a great deal from her and her leadership. Moreover, my other team members were also always friendly and helpful, offering their guidance and support whenever needed. The office environment fostered a sense of value for interns, and I was able to connect and form friendships with other interns and colleagues.
Working at the RCO was an enriching experience. This internship has not only deepened my interest in UN’s work but has also inspired me to pursue a career in communications. The exposure and experiences I gained during this internship have solidified my commitment to making a difference in the world.
Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the UN Peace and Development Foundation for their support in enabling me to participate in this internship. Without their support, I would not have had the opportunity to travel to Beijing and be part of this incredibly valuable experience.