Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: An unpaid act one year later

In this episode Clement speaks to the infamous tent-living intern of Geneva, David Leo Hyde, and his partner Nathalie Berger.

A couple of our writers took on this topic at the time:

  1. Sleeping rough in Geneva – a good overview and hot-take on the story by Alex Odlum.
  2. 4 ways unpaid internships undermine the UN – an anonymous break down of how an (unpaid) UN intern sees the wider problems of unpaid internships in the UN.

So what came from this big tent stunt? The UN hasn’t changed its way just yet. But David’s time in the tent became a rallying call to help organise interns and pro-pay activists get attention from the media.

Looking forward to checking out their documentary on the unpaid internship issue!

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to Clement’s Generosity crowdfunding campaign. You can also check out his blog here.

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Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: Intern Nation

This episode sees Clement interviewing Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. 

This definitely looks worth checking out. Perlin asks:

How have internships become almost as important as a college degree? Why are prestigious internships routinely being auctioned off for thousands of dollars?
Why does Disney World in Orlando employ up to 8,000 interns through its College Program every year?

Good questions. Especially for those us looking to go into an industry that more or less requires unpaid internships as a right of passage this way in seems like an inevitable fact of life. But you know what? It’s pretty new.

Remember, if you want to keep The Internship Grind going, please contribute to my crowdfunding campaign by donating or sharing it with your social networks. You can see what it’s all about over at igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: Better Know An Intern Pt. 2

In this Better Know An Intern episode Clement speaks to Anke Van de Velde about her internship experience, wanting to go to space, Criminal Minds, and human rights.

For past episodes, the blog, and more info visit theinternshipgrind.com/

// Are you currently a UN intern and want something a little bit better than the WhatsApp chat or the Facebook group to get all the internship information you need to know? Sign up for the new UN Interns Association at unia.ga/

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to Clement’s Generosity crowdfunding campaign:igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: The Intern Social Scene

Ah, now we get to probably the best bit about interning. Cutting loose.

I am possibly biased because I spent most of my intern days in Kampala when it was still very cheap. The parties were often and epic. And I swear I could handle hangovers a hell of a lot better back then (although my old supervisors would probably beg to differ). The relentless marching of time eh?

Clement has some big questions this week:

Where do interns meet? How do you find out about what’s going on within the intern community? Who is Calico Jack? All this will be answered on this alcohol-fueled episode of The Internship Grind.

As always, help support the Internship Grind by contributing to Clement’s Generosity crowdfunding campaign:igg.me/at/vUrRUldFoEA

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: The Intern Food Review

If you don’t get paid, work all the time and you live in an incredibly expensive city how are you supposed to eat?

Clement Nocos takes us through his routine. He spends 12 hours a day out of the house and eats out in New York while he does his UN internship. He has something like $8 a day to do this. How?

Clement has some good tips so listen to him, especially if you’re in New York.

This episode gave me flashbacks to spending my last 5000 Ugandan Shillings on an order of chips-chaps at Chicken Tonight. My card had been blocked and nobody was paying me, cash or otherwise, but I splurged it all in one go anyway. It was a surprisingly liberating evening and, thankfully, Natwest sorted out my card the next day. At other times I also relied on the largesse of friends – Kampala crew, you know who you are – to keep me fed.

As for my two cents, I would advise staying at home a bit more and cooking a whole lot. Learn to cook big batch pasta sauces/stews using cheap cuts of meat, roast whole chickens and keep using the meat throughout the week, make rice/noodle and veggie stir frys like Mee Goreng. This saves A LOT of money (and impresses dates).

Cook up several portions worth on weekends and portion it out throughout the week. Also, figure out a way to cook whatever ingredients are very cheap where you are. When I was living in Nairobi last year I learned how to make a delicious Szechuan green bean dish because I could buy a kilo of the things for next to nothing. Googling recipes is pretty damn cheap.

As ever, please support Clement and/or check out his other podcasts.

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Experiences, Projects, Unpaid Internships

The Internship Grind: Episode 2

A couple of weeks back* we shared Clement Nocos’s first UN internship podcast (check it out here).

Happily, there is now a follow-up available and the 3rd episode should also be coming your way later this week. Take a listen.

Remember, he needs dollars to keep interning. Share this around or donate to ensure he can eat and all that good stuff.


*Sorry for the delays – the last semester of graduate school did not allow for a lot of blogging. Watch this space for more episodes of Clement’s podcast and a review of the MPP programme at the Hertie School of Governance.

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Advocate, Unpaid Internships

Rights for all (except our interns)

“If it is to deserve its reputation as a beacon of justice, defending the rights of every person with a clear conscience and impeccable record, Human Rights Watch must cease the exploitation of its interns.”

A group of Human Rights Watch (HRW) unpaid interns have reportedly filed a report calling for the organisation to start paying their lowliest workers. Outrageous right?

Human rights organisations are held to a higher standard, naturally, and this sort of easy hypocrisy doesn’t do anything to help their image as imperialist outsiders trying to get governments of developing countries to uphold values and standards that are routinely ignored by Western governments.

This isn’t a criticism I agree with, I should add, but these organisations make it stick all the more readily by continuing to offer interns ‘experience’ instead of money.

Of course, tons of organisations use unpaid interns. We’ve covered this subject pretty thoroughly, covering the last intern scandal in Geneva (which focused on underpayment), asking why development seems to expect a period of (maligned) unpaid work and offering some alternative paths into the field. We also polled our readers and stopped sharing unpaid internship opportunities back in 2013. Hell,  the first two posts I ever posted on here dealt with the ethical concerns of unpaid internships – one of the reasons I started this website was to give a platform to interns in the development industry to raise these issues.

Let’s hope HRW does the right thing. But I’m not holding my breath. So let’s help them along by adding some more weight to the debate.

I’d love to hear from more unpaid interns in the sector.

What jobs are you doing? How many hours do you work/volunteer? Are you learning much? Does your supervisor trust you or give you any attention? How long is your internship?

Tell me your story and I will help you publicise it right here on Development Intern. You can submit to me via our Facebook writers group or via email.

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