A host company’s perspective: What our intern has done for us
Name of organisation: Northern Ireland Foundation
Name of respondent: Allan Leonard
Name of intern: Krisztina Nagy
Role: Organisational Development Intern
Why did you offer an international internship?
The opportunity to hire an international intern arose from a global event in Belfast of the Forum for Cities in Transition project. An outcome was the recognition of the need for follow-up work, so funding was secured and we began to search for an intern.
Was it important that the intern came from Europe? If so, why?
It was useful to have a perspective from outside Northern Ireland. Due to the nature of local sensitivities, it was good to have someone from overseas who could lend their fresh eyes to the project. The Erasmus+ scheme was an excellent fit for the role.
What did the intern bring to your company? How has the company benefited from their work?
Krisztina has brought her university education and previous work experience, applying her knowledge and enthusiasm to explore a wide range of options to take this project forward — options that might not have been considered without her input. Her understanding of communication and organisational development has introduced new thinking in the company; the results are very valuable. The Forum is spread all over the world and is not a vertical hierarchy. Krisztina has provided research on global networks, and presented us options for further consideration.
We have benefitted greatly from her input. She is very intelligent and responsive to this particular environment. Krisztina is getting a good sense of the real world and how her work has a direct impact on our practices. She has proved to be a superlative candidate for the Forum for Cities in Transition, and we have actually extended her placement with us at the Northern Ireland Foundation.
Do you feel that having an international intern working with you has engendered a feeling of European citizenship with colleagues?
Yes. We are already slightly biased, as we have had positive experiences with interns from Europe over the past five years. It’s very useful to have someone with an external perspective around. Krisztina has brought her own experiences of being subject to prejudice, and understands that stereotypes happen anywhere. The project that she is working on now is international in scope, and through the Erasmus programme, underlining the connections in Europe and beyond.
Would you recommend other companies to take on an international intern through the Erasmus+ programme?