2023 Internship Report - CHEN Xingshi
Name: CHEN Xingshi, Marieta
University: The University of Hong Kong (Major: Master of Laws (LLM) in Intellectual Property Law)
Position and UN Host Agency: Intern, South-South Cooperation and Partnership, United Nations Population Foundation (UNFPA)
Duration: June 2023 – September 2023 (3 months)
Sponsorship: United Nations Peace Development Foundation
Supervisor: PENG Jiong
Assignment: assisted in hosting a number of conferences, workshops and events, such as NTA (National Transfer Account) Workshop, Youth Day Event, Population Day Conference, etc.; drafting and selecting content on South-South Cooperation and Partnership for the official website of UNFPA China; drafting communication strategy for internal use on South-South Cooperation and Partnership; assisting supervisor in translating documents, emails, etc. and attending meetings with partnering agencies and individuals.
My story at UNFPA began in June 2023.
It was an extremely hot summer in Beijing, when the temperature could easily reach 40 degrees. I still remember very well that, because of the construction structure of the Tayuan Diplomatic Building, many offices of UNFPA cannot bear the weight of an air conditioner. Therefore, I have been bathing in the warmth of Beijing during my three-month internship, as well as in the warmth of UNFPA colleagues and other fellow interns.
Before getting to my work there, I must talk about my lovely colleagues and the lifelong friendship we have built up first. Colleagues at UNFPA are easy-going and totally approachable. Since we have the culture of dividing each week into 3-day work in office and 2-day work from home, sometimes I found that I was the only intern working at the office that day. At this moment, there were always senior colleagues reaching out to me and invited me to grab a lunch with them. More interestingly, despite the gap in age and position, we talked about all kinds of stuff, way beyond work-related subjects. As UNFPA’s mandate is primarily promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, majority of colleagues and interns there are females. Perhaps due to our common enthusiasm in the cause for women and girls, during our lunch time we exchanged our thoughts on gender equality issues quite a lot, from which I gained inspirations that will last forever.
As an intern, I could confidently say that, the relationship among fellow interns at UNFPA is closer than anywhere else I’ve been. Not only we lunched together almost every day and hung out in our leisure time, we also support each other in every aspect of our life. For example, my laptop was entirely broken unfortunately during the internship, and as I’m not a student in Mainland China I could not use the student discount there. The UNFPA consultant and PHD student of Renmin University of China sitting next to me, Yiyang, generously let me use her student discount to get a new laptop at much cheaper price than without student discount.
As to my working and learning experience at UNFPA, I would say it has been really enjoyable and fun. Because of the nature of United Nations agencies, working at UNFPA gave me the opportunity to collaborate and interchange with people all around the world. For example, at the NTA (National Transfer Account) Workshop that I have been invited to help hosting, I met with Mr. Tim Miller, the Global Advisor on Population and Development of United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and Ms. Wassana Im-em from UNFPA Asia-Pacific Office. Although I wasn’t familiar with population dynamic studies, it was really eye-opening and amusing to attend the Workshop and to talk with them and other participants who are specialists in this field.
Besides the exciting conferences, workshops and events I participated in, my daily job mainly revolved around supporting my supervisor in South-South Cooperation projects, including translating materials, attending meetings and taking notes, drafting and selecting materials. Although at the beginning I felt that my daily job wasn’t that complicated or important, from observing and talking to my colleagues, I gradually came to realize that all important work is based on these kinds of seemingly boring daily tasks, because they are the foundation of everything built upon them.
My overall experience at UNFPA China has been memorable and fulfilling. I feel really lucky to have the chance to being immersed in the atmosphere of UN agencies which will definitely have an positive impact on my future career and life decision. I would like to express my sincere gratitude (in alphabetical order) to the UNPDF, UNFPA, Ge, Haoran, Ira, Liqun, PJ, Shujun, Sijia, Tutu, Xianxian, Xulei, Yasi, Yiyang, and all the friends and colleagues in the office. It would not have been such a pleasant experience with all of you.