International NGO – Selina Pascale
Selina did a Politics in Action placement at an international NGO, and then she went on to work for that NGO. Now she supervises other PIR placement students.
In my final year at Royal Holloway (2015-2016) I was keen to gain real-life experiences in the field of international human rights. The Politics in Action module seemed like the perfect way to put my skills to the test. With the help and advice from lecturers, I secured an internship at VITAL – an international NGO and think tank that provides children in India with better, brighter futures. Looking back, I had no idea just how much this internship would affect my life and future career.
From the very first day of the internship, our supervisor asked us what we would like to gain from the experience and I decided to focus on research on VITAL's projects concerning human trafficking. Having previously volunteered with UNICEF, I first assumed we would be given only menial tasks but I quickly discovered I could be as active in the role as I wanted. I spoke with esteemed researchers in India regarding the projects, started creating the new website and even attended (and chaired!) corporate meetings with companies.
The internship has given me irreplaceable experience, culminating in a job proposal. In the wake of my final exams as an undergraduate, I skipped the stress of job applications and could fully focus on getting the best grades possible for my degree.
Politics in Action is the perfect transition from academia to the working world; it supports its students in every way possible, including financially through the Ignition Fund, which was a big help for the pricey commute. The internship opened so many pathways for my future and I am now fully settled in my role as assistant director of VITAL and am planning my second work visit to India. I also supervise the new interns from Royal Holloway and my aim has always been to use both their skills and own passions to create some fantastic events. So far, they haven't disappointed! I love working in a versatile job where every day is different and I feel I am truly making a difference.
If I could give any advice it would be to take this course! It has the perfect mix of coursework and practical skills and creates a broader perspective of the opportunities our degree can hold. Don't feel intimidated, the entire process will allow you to flourish at your own pace. Politics in Action is fun, sociable and can really, really pay off if you put in the work!