INTERNational Security?

Bertram Holliss

Firstly, albeit slightly late, happy 2013 to our ISD blog readers.

I have recently had a few questions sent my way regarding internships and thought a post or two about internships might be a worthwhile endeavour to try and set up.


The types of questions I’ve been sent relate to: whether interns were able to complete or would recommend an internship while studying? How internships complemented studies or assists in the transition to the work place? What kind of skills interns gained, what they enjoyed and what they didn’t? What interns expected prior to commencing their internship and whether their expectations where matched, exceeded or fell short?

So, if you are an intern or have completed an internship or perhaps even work for an organisation that offers internship opportunities it would be great to hear from you. Of course, please feel free to explore other areas that you feel are important and might be of interest to our readers.

The posts or your comments, if required, can be anonymous. I’m also happy to link to organisations and internship opportunities/programs.

Finally, we are always on the look out for original blog posts so why not submit one today.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,



One thought on “INTERNational Security?

  1. Coinciding with my postgraduate studies in International Relations I interned for a 8 months duration at a Policy Centre in Europe. Here are some of my advise.

    Step 1: Ask yourself seriously why you want to do an internship and what you want to get out of it? If the answer is you have a goal and want to achieve some thing from it continue to read. If you are doing it because you think you should and it might look good on your resume stop reading, apply and go wherever they will take you!

    Step 2: Do your homework. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find an organization that offers an structured internship program. By structured I mean, find out will the experience be generally ad hoc, that you will be used as and when needed to do whatever comes up, or is there a set program, 2 weeks here, 2 weeks there etc. So many Interns are just happy to get a foot in door (anywhere), and in particular at a reputable organisation, that they are often to afraid to ask the most basic questions at an internship interview, like what projects am I likely to be involved with, what will my role be, how much contact time will I get, not wanting to appear to demanding but often just content that they are in! It might be great for an ego to get your foot in the door and be able to put the name of that reputable organization on your resume but if there is nothing for you to do there, or you find that you’re just in charge of getting the morning coffee, its possibility you will get very little out of the experience and potentially find it quite a lonely one.

    Step 3: When possible you speak to other people who have interned there. If you don’t know anybody who has, speak to your Professors, it is possible they will have contacts or know of students who have interned at local organizations and will be able to give an honest account of what to expect.

    Step 4: Key to your internship experience will be the relationship you develop with your supervisor. I know interns who having interned at the same organization and have come out with polarised experiences. Some people are ‘lone-wolves’ uncapable or not willing to delegate tasks and responsibilities and others are very inclusive and will be prepared to really take you ‘under there wings’ (by following step 2 and 3 you should be able to determine whether your supervisor will sit on this scale).

    Step 5: If for whatever reason you are unsatisfied, do not be afraid to voice your concern. Durations of internships can vary, some can be longer than others and some can feel longer if you are unhappy. Any issues it is often better to iron straight away and your supericsor is more likely to respect you for it than be unhappy.

    This is just some of my advise and opinion. Good luck.

‘When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite’.

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