Employer: United Nations Development Programme, Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia

Internship Sponsor: Alumni Association BPIP Internship Fund

Anna Astakhishvili '15

Class Year: 2015
Hometown: Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
Campus Activities: Residential Adviser, CDC Peer-Consultant, Student Arts Association, Worlds Apart Together, V-Day Bucknell, This Is Me
Hobbies: Reading, skiing, swimming, acting/theatre, cooking, ceramics

My Experience:

My internship this past summer was more than a powerful experience, it was the most inspirational and life-challenging trip to discover myself as a diplomat and as a manager. I was working at UN Development Programme in Parliament of Georgia. I was an intern for a current UN project Strong Parliament in a Consolidated Democracy. I was very lucky to get this internship and BPIP Internship Fund at the same time. The internship at UNDP gave me a unique chance to be in the right place during the right time. During my internship Georgian Parliament was moving from the capital city- Tbilisi to the historical capital city Kutaisi, therefore my internship turned out to be even more challenging and extraordinary than I expected. Other than that, as Georgia has upcoming elections in October, I was in the center of parliamentary events. I also had to visit UN Office to attend Pre-Bid Conferences, write minutes and assist with activities related to a UNDP tender for Consulting/Training Services in Budgetary Oversight.

I was also working together with UNDP journalist expert to make an annual progress report of the Project's Parliamentary Activities. I was helping the expert to meet with the members of Parliament, collect and edit the information about the current Parliamentary news. Project Manager and I edited Global Parliamentary Report, which was later published by UNDP and International Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

What is the most interesting or important thing you took from your Internship this summer?

My internship with UN Development Programme was so all-encompassing that I cannot name a single aspect which was the most interesting for me. The famous phrase which I used to hear when I was still in high school: "I learn something important every day," became clear for me during my internship. I was in the center of events happening not only in Tbilisi but in whole Georgia. I also began to reevaluate my country in my mind and used this wonderful opportunity which BPIP Fund gave to get to know real Georgia, which despite many fields to improve makes big steps towards development of economics, education, and democracy.

How did the BPIP Fund help make your experience possible?

The experience which I gained this past summer was priceless. I can say that being a UNDP intern in Georgia made me feel what it is to work at UNDP and what it is to work in Georgia. Thanks to BPIP Fund I was able to feel them both influencing my experience. Because of the sudden changes and fast pace, one learns how to apt Georgia's standards of living and working. Therefore, I am very glad that going through this hardships made me seek the solutions in a creative way. Even the smallest task may become complicated and being aware of spontaneity and being ready to find an alternative solution is the biggest skill I got while working at UN Development Programme in Georgia.

Why would you recommend the BPIP Fund?

As a BPIP Fund Recipient and as a CDC Peer-Specialist I highly recommend this program to ALL majors. It is a great way to get best experience and allow events to influence your interests and values. It helps students avoid narrowing down choices and fosters flexibility in opportunities. Stipend allowed me to cover my financial costs and fully immerse in my internship. This financial support gave me independence and I am very grateful to Alumni Association BPIP Internship Fund for giving me this chance!

Other comments:

Spending my summer as a UNDP intern was truly the best way to give back to my country and fruitfully explore my career opportunities. It was also a very unique way to bond my Bucknell experiences with contemporary Georgia. This internship shaped my values and let me see the broad range of possibilities of my career.