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Impressions from the trip: " Internship experience in the international organizations in Geneva”

Alesya Ionova tells about annual educational internship in the international organizations in Geneva.

Annually students of faculty of World Economy and International Affairs of Higher School of Economics are given an opportunity to spend a week educational internship in the international organizations in Geneva (Switzerland). This year from April 19 to April 26 I had managed to take part in this educational tour too. Except students of our university, the delegation from Russia also included students of other leading higher education institutions of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The purpose of an educational trip consisted in getting familiar with the international organizations and the key directions of their activity. The educational program provided lectures with the subsequent discussion of topical issues of world economy and, in particular, a trade policy. The program of staying in Geneva has been also added with excursion to the Permanent mission of the Russian Federation at the WTO.

 

About the country
We spent the most part of our time in Geneva. However on the weekend I managed to visit the city of Montreux and other cities of Switzerland which were along the line in Montreux. It is known that Switzerland can be divided into four parts according to official language in cantons (there are four state languages: German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romance). In spite of the fact that I have visited only "the French part" of Switzerland, I would like to tell about the impression of the country.
For the resident of Russia the country can seem absolutely small, but this circumstance doesn't belittle its beauty and advantages at all. Switzerland is not only the country of bankers, hours and chocolate. There is everything! It is the nice and measured country, with the purest air and water, snow-covered tops of the Alps, abundance of greens and flowers, flat meadows and boundless mirror lakes.
Feature of Switzerland is that in this country you doesn't feel like the foreigner at all. The reason for that serves not only the existence of four official languages and mixture of various cultures in the country, but also goodwill of local citizens. People of "the French part" of Switzerland were ready to support with us conversation not only on any of official languages of the country, but also in English. Proceeding from my experience of traveling to other European countries, the situation is much worse.
Separately it would be necessary to tell about the Swiss cuisine. Because of the mixture of various cultures in the country it is quite difficult to speak about national cuisine of Switzerland. However it is possible to find a number of unique gastronomic features in this country. I will tell about two most known Swiss products in details - cheese and chocolate. The most popular cheese dish, of course, is fondue. The portion is usually designed for two people, but to order this nourishing dish the best for the company. As for chocolate, residents of Switzerland are truly considered as geniuses of chocolate business. To chocolate in the country people paid much more attention that is expressed, it measure not only in a large number of candy stores and little shops, but also in the museums devoted to this confectionery (I will tell about visiting of one of them later).

 

Training
Despite all attractive aspects of Switzerland, internship was the main goal of my stay in the country. During a study and educational tour to Geneva we have visited a number of the international organizations, such as body of the United Nations General Assembly, the WTO and the International shopping center (ITC). The educational program has been directed not only to a getting familiar to these international organizations, but also for discussion of topical issues of world economy.
Within a week we listened to lectures which were given by employees of the organizations. The staff of UNCTAD has prepared the presentations devoted to direct foreign investments, technologies and innovations, industrial policy of the countries, and also the international financial architecture. Especially it have to be to noted that the lecture devoted to one of the most discussed subject recently is corporate social responsibility. In the WTO we were told about the Doha round and the Bali package of arrangements, regional trade agreements, regulation of trade in services and application of measures of trade protection. The staff of the International shopping center has submitted analytical programs and instruments of own development: Trade and Market Access Map which allow to carry out the trade analysis of the markets.
All educational programd were held in English. Performances were followed by the evident presentations which helped to convey information well. At the end of each lecture there was a lot of time for our numerous questions which speakers always willingly and in detail answered. Often discussion of subjects so carried us away that we continued discussions even in coffee breaks.
Our meeting with Russian diplomats in Permanent mission of the Russian Federation at the WTO was the first and only time when the discussion of world economy was conducted in Russian. Our meeting took place in a format of discussion during which Russian diplomats with big enthusiasm answered the questions related with foreign economic activity of our country. Most students were interested in prospects of development of the Russian Federation in the conditions of economic sanctions. Diplomats have directly stated the point of view on the matter.

Business game
A large number of memoirs I have from business game in which we took part in the course of educational training. It was the case where we had to solve whether our fictional country has to attract FDI. In the first day all students have been divided into representatives of four ministries (Finance, Science and Technologies, Industry, Ecology) and agencies on assistance to investments. There were students from various universities therefore in the same team, so it was an excellent chance to strike up new friends. Our task was to make the decision on attraction of FDI to our country and prepare the presentation illustrating our point of view.
All forthcoming week we were engaged in preparation of our presentations. I have got to the Ministry of Finance that’s why me and my team should analyse large volume of numerical information. Week has passed very quickly, and the day of performance has come. Two persons from each team had to present the topic to the staff of UNCTAD and other students. Groups have acted with the presentations which were actively discussed subsequently. In the end of the game the staff of UNCTAD made some concluding remarks about results of game and noted the high level of our presentation.

 

Tours

The program of our trip included not only business, but also cultural part. We have visited the Palace of Nations in which the representative office of the UN in Europe is placed now. During the tour we visited the main halls of the Palace where negotiations between leading world powers took place and many international agreements were concluded. Also we learned the history and current activity of the UN. The picturesque park which is located around the Palace of Nations, where peacocks walk without being afraid of people. Besides, we have visited UN library where a wide choice of literature on a large number of languages is presented.
After classes we got familiar with sights of Geneva, walked in the old part of the city. We visited Lake Geneva, the Botanical garden and, of course, the Geneva fountain which attracts all of the tourists.
At weekends we left Geneva and went to Montreux. But before it we stopped in the city Brock to visit chocolate factory - the museum devoted to history of chocolate production. In one of halls we observed production and taste the chocolate. When we arrived to Montreux, we walked on the blossoming lake mole which view couldn't spoil even a pouring rain. It is possible to see different types of exotic flowers, trees and vegetable sculptures on the mole. On the lake coast there is also Freddie Mercury's statue behind which a majestic panorama of mountains opens.
Educational internshipin Geneva was very interesting and very saturated, but not so tiresome. During my stay in Switzerland I have learned and have seen a lot of new and interesting things. Though our trip was short, I managed to go sightseeing, meet a lot of interesting people and know national culture of the country. What is more important, is that we got experience of a business trip, realized ourselves as representatives of Russia who in the process of communication with the staff of the international organizations also formed opinions on their own country.