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Alumni Profile: Kelly Pasek '12

This past summer I interned with the United Nations Environmental Programs (UNEP) Convention on Migratory Species in Bonn, Germany as part of the AIB’s SABINA language + internship program. It was an unforgettable experience and I learned more about Germany, the UN, international business and myself than I ever expected to.

At the core of my experience in Bonn was the AIB. They are the primary reason my time in Germany was so incredible. The AIB staff is very professional, passionate and organized. They meticulously coordinated a number of fantastic outings and excursions throughout my program, including a Rhine cruise, a visit to the chocolate museum in Cologne, wine tastings in the Mosel region and trips to the theatre. Aside from the trips the AIB organized, I was able to go to Paris, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf and Luxembourg during my time in Bonn. The AIB has an amazing network of host families who are incredibly friendly and welcoming. Although I never had any problems with my host family, I knew exactly who to speak with if I ever did. My host family was so kind and helpful that I could not have hoped for a more positive experience.

During my time at the UN, I worked for the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), which protects any animal species that migrates across international borders. I worked in the Fundraising and Inter-Agency Liaison department. It was a very dynamic and interesting department to work in and it gave me the opportunity to work on different types of projects. My boss and I were essentially in our own department so we worked very closely together. Our two main tasks were to find funding for CMS and to oversee current and potential partnerships. One of my main tasks was researching foundations and charitable organizations globally to find relevant grants for CMS’s partner non-profits who implement CMS’s policies on the ground at the national level. I also did a lot of research into potential partnerships with a variety of organizations ranging from energy companies to major cereal brands to professional sports teams. Toward the end of my internship, I was part of the pre-drafting process for CMS’s new Strategic Plan effective 2014. My work on the Strategic Plan involved reaching out to partner conventions and interviewing those who were responsible for the planning and drafting of their organization’s strategic plan. I then synthesized that information so those involved in the Strategic Plan drafting process had some guidance from experienced hands as they began their drafting process.

Although my boss and I were essentially in our own division, I was able to spend a lot of time with the other interns working at the UN. Everyday I would meet all of the interns for lunch in the lobby. We would go to eat at the various cafeterias in the businesses near the UN like DHL and Deutsche Welle or on sunny days we would eat packed lunches by the river. There were always interns coming and going at the UN and during my two and a half months at the UN I met interns from England, Portugal, Austria, Germany, France, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Belgium, Ghana, the Netherlands and Spain. With such an international group of people we were more different than alike but we quickly discovered the things which connected us were much more important than the things that separated us. By the end of my internship, I had a number of great friends from all over and I know that if I ever end up in their neck of the woods I will have a place to stay.

Living and working in a different country opens your eyes to a different culture and a different way of living. You learn to see your own culture through the eyes of another. When you return to your home country you begin to notice things you never noticed before. Through comparison you understand more fully the things your culture values, what you like about your country and things you wish your country did better.