Intern Intel: Organization for Aid to Refugees

April 3, 2019

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of our new series, “Intern Intel.” This series is intended to give students with internships a platform to reflect on what they have gained from those experiences. On the flip side, we hope this series will also be informative for future NYU Prague students who are considering these internships and want to know more about what to expect from them before applying. 

 

Photo Credit: Audrey Romjue 

 

This semester in Prague, I am working with the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU). OPU is a non-profit and non-governmental humanitarian organization based in the Czech Republic. They provide refugees with legal and social counseling, training programs, educational programs and integration programs. They also have initiatives to fight xenophobia and racial and ethnic intolerance.

 

This is not a traditional internship, but rather an event-planning position with the organization in tandem with NYU. The OPU is having a social event and learning program for refugees at the end of the semester, and NYU is helping fund the event and also providing student volunteers.

 

For the event, approximately 25 refugees — including unaccompanied minors and families with children — will be gathering at Komunitní zahrada Kuchyňka, a community garden, for a honeybee workshop and picnic, followed by a session of adventure mini golf. At the honeybee workshop, they will learn about beekeeping, observe bees in their hive, learn about the production of honey products and make their own beeswax candles. The goal of the event is to get attendees accustomed to their new Czech surroundings, to learn something new and exciting and to simply have a fun day!

 

My job is to act as a liaison between OPU and NYU. I help plan activities for the event, arrange food and beverages, create promotional material, recruit volunteers and keep costs within NYU’s budget.

 

Because my job is to organize a one-time event, I work from home and manage my own schedule. That being said, my day-to-day responsibilities are not consistent. I tend to do something different every week  — for example, creating posters and social media posts, working on the design of program pamphlets and researching the costs of certain activities — based on what we need to plan. On average, I work around three to six hours per week, depending on how much work needs to be done.

 

I chose this position because I feel that doing service is an amazing way to get to know the country you are visiting; it allows you to understand social, political and economic issues that you may not have a chance to learn about otherwise. I also think that the refugee crisis is one of the most pressing global issues of our generation. I also wanted to learn more about the refugee crisis in Europe to expand my knowledge on a global scale. Especially after learning about some instances of racial intolerance in the Czech Republic, I was motivated to be a part of the fight for refugees’ rights.

 

For prospective students, I would recommend this position to anyone looking for a relaxed yet informative and meaningful job. (It is solely event planning, though, so pursue this job if you like organizational tasks and have good online communication skills!) Even though we are only halfway through the semester, I have already learned a lot about the Czech Republic’s attitudes to and policies about the refugee crisis. I have taken away lots of valuable information about how we can help, and I hope to bring this back to the United States and to NYU!

 

 

 

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