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Before interning at IARS I knew I wanted to pursue a career in advocacy. The last 12 weeks here have only confirmed this to me and provided me with renewed drive to reach my goal. Interning at IARS has honestly been a wonderful experience and I urge anyone thinking about it to apply!

After completing my undergraduate degree, I was at a loss over what to do during the summer that would enable me to use the skills I had developed whilst cultivating new ones that would be useful for my eventual career. I was lucky enough that an organisation I reached out to directed me towards IARS. It was with genuine shock that I researched IARS, a non-profit that seemed like (and was!) the perfect place for me to carry out my placement, as an institute that carries out important work on youth empowerment and civic participation, which aligns closely with my own interests.

Over my placement, I was able to work on a variety of projects tailored towards my areas of intrigue including the empowerment of young people, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. As a result, this was a holistic internship that enabled me to develop a range of skills. Initially, I was assigned to carry out research for Queer Migrants, this alerted me to the influential figures in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and eventually I was tasked to write a blog post about Marsha P Johnson which was paramount in improving my knowledge on the LGBTQ+ community. I subsequently worked on the YES project, researching, and reporting on community initiatives established in London. I also had the opportunity to work for YOU_WEEN, curating social media posts to encourage young women to get involved in green entrepreneurship which was particularly rewarding for me. I finished my placement working on EDEEY, which aimed at establishing a taught module on social enterprise for high school students, here I liked the responsibility that came with a task that was solely assigned to me.

Ultimately, this internship gave me a real sense of what its like to work for a non-profit and crucial insight into the sector which has been really useful in helping me decide the next steps in my career. I was able to advance skills I had developed at university and acquire numerous new skills through writing pieces such as blog posts and reports that encouraged me to communicate my thoughts in alternative ways than what is expected in an academic setting. Perhaps most significantly, my placement at IARS empowered me to be more confident over the work I produce which will definitely be invaluable for my professional and personal development.

Despite working remotely got a real sense of the friendly culture at IARS in every call and interaction I had with colleagues, who went out of their way to offer me continuous support, feedback, and kindness. I am especially grateful to Sophia and Maija who were both incredibly accommodating and understanding supervisors, I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with them.

I am immensely grateful for my experience interning at IARS, I have thoroughly enjoyed the past 12 weeks.

By Gjeni Doda