After leaving her previous unsatisfying internship in Geneva, Irene Schwieger arrived at ICVolunteers in November of 2011 with a plethora of work experience for her young age, and an eager commitment to improve the world.
Irene graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she studied environmental studies. Soon after, she returned home to Nyon, Switzerland, to â€śspend time with family and gain work experienceâ€ť by interning with an organization that allowed her to gain familiarity and insight in the field of human rights. After working in a wide variety of sectors for the last few years, she located a law firm that would take her in. At first, that may have seemed like the perfect place to begin her training for her future career plans, which, she revealed to us, include a masters in environmental or development law.
She light-heartedly reminisces about the unbalanced, unreasonabe, and unrealistic boss she was forced to respond to during her previous internship, and despite her smile, her expression tells more than her mouth does. Fortunately, Ireneâ€™s dynamism and seeming necessity to be part of a good cause allowed her to rapidly retrace her steps, and to return to the hunt for a new job. Shortly thereafter, Irene had found her new engagement in ICV.
Proof of ICVÂ´s improved visibility was Ireneâ€™s short search for internships in the Geneva area. She states that â€śICV was one of the first links to pop up in my searchâ€ť and without hesitation, she emailed in her CV. After the application process was completed, Irene began as a conference planner and administrative assistant, following Ana, another young intern at ICV, as she explained the procedures that pave the way to a conference.
Admittedly, at first Irene â€śdidnâ€™t know what to expectâ€ť but that did not stop her from rapidly catching up and â€śjumping right in to the action.â€ť Although she found everyone to be really nice and helpful, she found an especially great friend and guide in Ana. Together they gleefully lighten the mood at the office, as they busily chit chat their way through their daily tasks.
In her first duty as a conference coordinator, Irene encountered â€śno major issuesâ€ť, apart from an absent, ill interpreter. On second thought, however, she remembers a slightly bigger cause for concern. â€śOne of the interpreters had been found to be quite incompetent by the othersâ€ť she tells. Diligently, her and Ana were able to take steps to resolve this issue and uphold the standards promoted by ICV.
â€śVolunteeringâ€ť she explains, â€śis done because people are interested in the betterment of society. Not only can you gain valuable working experience, but you contribute to your community by doing something meaningful. Volunteers are proof of peopleâ€™s personal values and of the desire to improve society. NGOs, such as ICVolunteers, are an extension of such progress.â€ť
Overall, Irene is delighted to have had the opportunity to see â€śhow things works on the organizational sideâ€ť and discover an often forgotten component of human rights work and international cooperation, administration. Regarding her whole time at ICV, she describes it with fondness, and confesses that it has confirmed her opinion of NGOs. She was particularly amazed by the environment of collaboration and friendliness that she often found absent from other working environments. To her, ICV is â€śa place where you can do something, accomplish something real, thanks to its vast resources and contacts.â€ť