Internships are the best way to figure out how to work with others, but also how find out what you like and what you dislike
My name is Zaira Seya Bulgheroni and I am a third-year IB History student, and second-year IBCoM student. I completed a traineeship at EuroClio, a non-governmental European Association of History Educators. The organisation instructs trainees so that they can learn the intricate workings of an international NGO, in addition to enriching a student’s theoretical knowledge by gaining practical experience in the field of history education.
I was responsible for three main tasks. The first was a project entitled “Football Makes History”. Football history looks at stories surrounding both individuals and communities of diverse cultures, which makes it a very interesting subject within history to teach students about social inclusion and anti-discrimination. The second task was to lead exploratory research designed to find out what history teachers truly need in order to improve their teaching practices. Finally, the third task was to work for Euroclio’s outreach team which involved posting and writing content for our main website, as well as our social media platforms.
The COVID-19 crisis affected all levels of life, and consequently, it affected my internship. During the majority of the traineeship I worked from home. The major challenges of completing a traineeship from home were related to communication between the team members. Receiving training in order to develop a proficiency using programs, such as WordPress or Insightly, can end up being quite a complex task. Starting a traineeship from home leaves one with little direction as to what questions to ask, or where to look for information. However, it went a little deeper than that. The lack of personal contact with EuroClio administrators and other trainees in simple daily interactions, led to little direction as to what the main aims and goals of the organisation were at the beginning of the traineeship.
The most valuable lesson my internship has taught me is: trust yourself in unknown waters. There are many times you may feel unsure or uncomfortable managing certain situations. I learned that there is no challenge that you cannot surmount. As mentioned above, during the beginning of my internship, I found it hard to navigate the use of some programs or procedures, however, with time I got a hang of things. Remembering that you can always learn and develop yourself was very helpful. Most importantly, this growth often comes from the very fact that you have placed yourself in a challenging position, and it is in the struggle that you can work on multiple personal virtues, such as flexibility, perseverance and courage.
When I began looking for my internship, I wanted to find an internship that combined both history and communication. Considering that the COVID-19 crisis hit hard one month before we were to begin our internships and I had still not found one, the employment search itself was challenging. Around the end of April, one of my friends from the history course suggested I look into the “history career service” Facebook group, and to my surprise there were multiple offers for internships.
Some of the most useful courses in IBHistory were the courses that focussed on discussing how one can represent history in the public sphere, and the role historians play in that process. With globalisation, the realisation and contestation of the marginalisation of social groups in history, are questions that have become increasingly relevant. The philosophically-geared classes during my studies revealed themselves extremely useful while working with an organisation which has made its goal the promotion of inclusionary, multi-perspective and responsible history education.
My internship did not impact my future career plans, however, it did provide more clarity on what kind of business I enjoy working in. EuroClio follows a more horizontal organisational structure, and based on my pervious work experiences, I know now what suits me best. Additionally, it gave me a better idea about the workings and influence of social media. Honestly, internships are the best way to figure out how to work with others, but also how find out what you like and what you dislike.
To future interns, my advice is to not be afraid of failing. Whether it is applying for a highly competitive internship, or whether it is pitching an idea you have to your co-workers, take the leap and trust in your capabilities! Most of all, remember that you are always on a constant journey of developing yourself!