A Summer Interning at the World Health Organization

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For my GoAbroad experience I headed off to Geneva for 6 weeks to work as an intern at the World Health Organisation. It was an enlightening experience that I certainly won’t forget in a hurry!
It was hugely daunting arriving at the WHO on my first Monday morning, having arrived in Geneva the previous evening with little idea of where I was going and what I would be doing. Thankfully, my supervisor was a lovely, welcoming lady who put me at ease from the get go. She commented that I had managed to seem less anxious in person than in my emails—my nerves about being rather young and inexperienced to work at WHO must have been obvious! However, I soon settled into the environment there. It is a remarkably open, relaxed atmosphere where everyone is willing to take time to talk to interns about their work. I learned lots about the projects of various people in the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health department, and when my supervisor was working in India for the week, I easily adopted another project to work on while she was away.
My main work as an intern was a project looking at how effective one method of prioritising health research is. The CHNRI methodology is a structure designed to prioritise the best research questions to be addressed using a crowd-sourcing type gathering of opinions from lots of experts in the field you are addressing. In my project, I was looking at CHNRI exercises conducted around 5 different child health topics: neonatal infection, low birthweight/prematurity, childhood diarrhoea, childhood pneumonia and intrapartum-related neonatal death. My job was to assess whether the number of research papers addressing the CHNRI identified questions in each of these areas had changed, with a view to addressing whether the methodology really impacts upon the health research agenda. Through this process I developed my ability to conduct sound academic searches and methods as I had to think critically about how I would complete my task.
Alongside working hard, I also had the opportunity to make some great friends and travel the area surrounding Geneva. WHO has a strong intern committee which makes it easy to find people to explore with. I also had the advantage of going with one of my good friends from Edinburgh University. In our time off we travelled to Lake Annecy, Yvoire, Sciez, Cannes, Lucern and Bern and did activities like paragliding and windsurfing. I loved Bern and was pleased I managed to go there as I don’t think I would ever have identified it as somewhere I would like to visit had I not been in the area anyway!
Overall, I had an amazing experience living in a different place and culture and working alongside many world leading experts in various aspects of Global Health- a field I feel truly passionate about working in long term as a result of my GoAbroad experience!
Jet d'Eau

An evening off to go paragliding

Palais de Nations

Beach weekend in Cannes

WHO HQ

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