By Nicole Timofeevski, Student of Central European Studies, Prague, Spring 2019
Picture this scenario: You are a student. You have worked hard in school and gained some skills participating in clubs or extra-curricular activities. Suddenly it is your junior year and questions about “your future” and such daunting concepts as “job prospects” and “a career” start pouring in. You sit down and embark on the perilous, exhausting, coming-of-age journey known as “the job search”. Navigating through the jungle of positions all calling for resumes and cover letters, you finally strike gold finding a perfect “entry-level” job. You are overjoyed until you see the fateful words: experience required. You scramble to find another and bam! 2 years experience. Then it’s 3, then 10, and soon you find yourself resorting to desperately choosing between a 200 hour per week unpaid internship as an entry-level document faxer and a minimum wage full-time offer to go on coffee runs…Sound familiar?
Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but the unfortunate reality is that students and young adults face incredible difficulty to gain proper experience and secure both meaningful and rewarding internships. This has largely been the case for me with my previous internship experiences. That is, until I joined Transitions. Interning for a semester here at TOL has honestly been a dream come true and nothing like my internships before.
Established in 1999, Transitions is a non-profit organization that was founded in order to keep the print Transitions magazine alive online. The online Transitions publication, which provides news, research, and analysis of the post-communist region to the world, is still the organization’s primary focus to this day. Over the past two decades, however, Transitions has expanded its work to include journalism and media training programs as well as disinformation busting projects in the region.
I had always been interested in journalism and marketing, but as someone studying political science, I had never had the chance to try it out. I remember being hesitant to choose Transitions when deciding between offers because I wasn’t sure if I should prioritize what would “look good” on my resume, a friendly environment, interesting work, or a chance for growth. Little did I know that my internship would meet all of those criteria and even more!
As a Transitions NGO Development and Marketing Intern, my main duties involve helping managing projects and grants, preparing advertising campaigns, and creating the newsletter. This has been incredibly exciting because much of the material I work with (such as news articles about Central Asia and education projects in the Balkans) directly relate to my studies and career interests. I am also interested in working in an NGO in the future, so it has been incredibly useful to learn the ins and outs of grant financing and NGO management. Additionally, I am someone who needs to be doing something meaningful, and the work that we do at Transitions is incredibly rewarding.
At Transitions, there is always something interesting to be working on. Since Transitions is a small organization, interns have the opportunity to try themselves in different capacities and contribute work to other departments. For example, I never had experience with web design or blockchain technology and was able to join the website design team and help with a blockchain newsroom archiving system because I expressed interest in learning more about it. Other interns have contributed to the newsroom, produced graphics, developed marketing strategies, and so much more. Finally, in addition to the prospect of engaging in meaningful work in a friendly and supportive environment, Transitions also offers unique opportunities for interns to attend events and trainings around Prague that are not always open to the public.
Choosing to intern with Transitions has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have gained new skills, developed close working relationships with my mentors, contributed to meaningful projects, and participated in activities I never dreamed I would be doing!