2023 Internship Report - Lina Guo
(UNRCO staff at the United Nations Day Celebration in October 2023)
Name: Lina Guo
Degree: Master of Global Management
University: University of Hong Kong
Position: Administrative Intern, Operations
UN Host Agency: UNRCO
Duration: July 2023– November 2023 (5 months)
Sponsorship: United Nations Peace and Development Foundation
Supervisor: Hongyang Xiong
Getting a chance to work at the UN was a dream rather than a goal for me. I had not set high expectations when I applied; the recruitment process required some preparation, but it went unexpectedly smoothly and quickly, so, when I received the good news, it felt somewhat unreal.
My internship took place at the UN Resident Coordinator Office in China (UNRCO). The UN Resident Coordinator is the highest-ranked representative of the UN Development System at the country level and oversees and coordinates UN Country Teams for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The RC system operates under the UN secretariat and is supported by the Development Coordination Office (DCO).
In the operations team at UNRCO China, my role involved supporting four main areas for the office: procurement, human resources, finance, and administration. Additionally, I participated in the coordination of events, contributing to the planning of large and small events and seminars organized by our office, such as the annual UN Day celebration.
What is great about this internship is that I had the opportunity to do work that had a real impact on the office, and many of my responsibilities were the same as those of a full-time employee. This experience instilled in me a strong sense of accountability and professionalism, emphasizing that the quality of my work and performance truly mattered, even as an intern.
Additionally, I learned a lot about how different operations, procedures, and formalities work in an international organization like the UN, as well as concepts and how-tos I had never encountered before.
What's most interesting and unique is that through many events organized by UNRCO, I got to participate in and witness high-level conferences, meetings, and seminars, where I could meet and interact with representatives from both the public and private sectors, such as member state embassies, government, international institutions, academia, companies, etc. These experiences were truly eye-opening, and, without this internship, I would not have had the chance to do so.
(My team working at the United Nations Day event)
I gained valuable insights and matured my soft and interpersonal skills, learning how to navigate personal and professional relationships with colleagues and other stakeholders, which will equip me well for my future. Nevertheless, I am grateful for all the helpful and great people I met during my time at RCO.
On the other hand, coming to Beijing by myself and living away from friends and family came with its own set of challenges. It trained and enhanced my independence, critical thinking in decision-making, problem-solving, and openness to forming new relationships, all of which are extremely valuable qualities for personal growth.
For anyone going for a similar experience in Beijing, approach the experience with an open mind and the self-confidence that you are able to handle whatever challenges come your way, and I assure you will leave with a positive experience.
Lastly, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the UNPDF and its partnership with the UN for supporting junior talent like me to be part of such meaningful and fulfilling growth opportunities.
"The UN wasn’t created to take mankind into paradise, but rather, to save humanity from hell." - Dag Hammarskjöld, ex-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
(Walking by Liangmahe River, Beijing)