My Report about Internship
An internship is a brilliant opportunity to test the knowledge gained at the college and test the skills that have been mastered. I served the internship at the Protocol Department Dubai as a protocol researcher, though my duties frequently exceeded the duties explained in the job description of this position. This experience was both rewarding and challenging for me, as I frequently had to abandon my comfort zone and seek help from people I barely knew or to conduct the research in a completely new branch. Nevertheless, I expanded my knowledge of the issues related to my future occupation and the qualifications that I should possess in order to be considered an expert. Within this report, I covered the key issues in regard to the internship, including the description of the organisation, the main tasks and duties that I completed and the lessons learned. In addition, it discusses the extent to which culture might affect performance and job satisfaction as well as the effect of a working environment and policies regarding communication on career development.
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Overview of the Hosting Department
The Protocol Department Dubai is an agency that executes the protocol duties set by the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE. It is primarily responsible for various functions, including the organisation of official meetings of the Vice President, the Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai as well as supervision and coordination of parties with the purpose of arranging for events in the presence of higher governmental officials and scheduling and conducting visits for official delegates (Protocol Department Dubai, 2017). Moreover, the agency serves as the communication point for the higher governmental officials and the UAE consulates, diplomatic representatives and other diplomatic agencies in the world.
Structure of Work
The internship that I have undertaken this summer started on July 9. I was introduced to my department as well as the supervisor and mentor who helped me to navigate through the most complicated duties. In cooperation with them, we set the goals for the internship and outlined the scope of my duties and responsibilities related to my position. The internship lasted for eight weeks; at the beginning of each of them, I received new assignments for the week that should have been completed. In addition, I was assigned a few extra tasks that consumed some spare time. The tasks that I completed during the internship completely differed from the standard job description, and I was rather pleased as I could learn and gain more from this experience. I highly appreciated the projects and solo events that I was involved in, as I could practice my research, organising, networking, communication and other skills at one place.
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Since the job duties changed as the internship evolved, I could barely structure my work. However, each day, I created the schedule for the coming working day and assigned all challenging tasks for the first half of the day. Apparently, I usually spent my lunches communicating with the colleagues and made phone calls while I was reaching some destination points. In fact, I did not organise my duties into groups, and I tried not to combine some research or written assignments with phone calls, as the latter might be quite disturbing. What is more, the research and inquiry usually required deep concentration and isolation from the outside world since it was necessary to undertake in-depth analysis and clarify all the ins and outs of the particular issue.
Talking about time framework, I could not always arrange my work in the way I wished to since I was interrupted by my supervisor who assigned me the tasks that were not agreed on in advance. For example, I had to organise the event between diplomats of the other country and UAE. Apart from that, I was engaged in the activities that aimed at solving urgent problems. During the internship, I frequently undertook legal researches and overview of legal documents; this activity was rather challenging for me, as the course that I took did not focus on that part. Completing this task, I communicated with a lot of professionals from my and adjacent departments who helped me to clarify the notions related to legal aspects of international relations.
As I worked for the Protocol Department Dubai, I was mainly involved in the research work. Although some of it was quite interesting, the rest was rather boring. In some cases, I understood that I lacked experience or depth of research, though it is quite hard to trace the issue to extremes and determine its end. Moreover, I created the profiles for the countries, which appeared to be the most rewarding job for me, as I am keen on travelling and tourism. Undoubtedly, my scope of research exceeded the ordinary analysis of the tourist destination, as I had to submit a report regarding connections and suggestions for the promotion of future cooperation. The most prominent candidates were Germany and Norway, as these two countries differ mentally and economically from UAE and have a lot to learn from in regard to international relations and sustainability strategies. As an international relations internee, I also focused on preparing reports on the current political events. Accordingly, my job mostly involved the consideration of the news records about the Qatar crisis. In fact, all of these experiences were quite new for me and required a lot of energy and time to fulfil; however, I am thankful for all of them, as they helped me to grow and perceive the areas that I would improve in the future.
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The tasks that were assigned to me were more or less relevant to my major, which is international law. During the internship, I was given a task of reviewing various legal documents and undertaking research in regard to the international and humanitarian law. Apparently, the main part of it related to the conflict and unstable situation in Qatar. In addition, I had to arrange the meetings and visits of the international delegation, which also involved conducting some legalisation procedures. Overall, I had an opportunity to see how the Foreign Affairs Department works and handles various issues related to the international relations. I realised that the reality differs significantly from the international relations work, as opposed to what was shown in the movies. For example, as an intern, I frequently stayed late analyzing a considerable amount of data to find the relevant and important piece. In other words, it is not enough to simply brag about ones accomplishments, success comes only after hours of hard works.
The Lessons Learned and Their Connection to the Course
During this internship, I had the opportunity to both use the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom and to acquire new experience that would be useful in the future career. As I had to undertake the researches and country profiles, I used the methodology that we covered in the course as well as employed some of my own methods that I also mastered during the studies. What is more, I gained overall understanding of the international relations in the course; therefore, I could tactfully and patiently handle various situations, bureaucracy and long procedures. I knew why certain events occurred and could make my own prognosis. For example, when I followed the political situation in Qatar, one of the critical countries for this region, and was able to deliver my reports and anticipations regarding the future of this country.
At the same time, I was overwhelmed by management and planning activities, which are also quite important for professionals who aim to work for embassies, consulates and similar agencies. In the course of internship, I was engaged in planning events, and this area was new for me. Accordingly, I realised that a lot of risks are not even considered at the stage of planning, and the most significant of them might endanger the entire event and worsen the relations among the states. The event management in the area of international relations is also associated with the need to follow protocols and professional etiquette. Though I was aware of the latter due to the course that I have taken, the organisation of the event required much energy and emotional stability. Evidently, there is a substantial number of doubts that everything would go wrong and transform into an international scandal. However, it was not the case this time, but I still decided to train my skills in the area of event management. At the same time, I learned to keep my emotions under control and reach the goals that I have set. Additionally, I tried to incorporate some of the negotiation techniques that I learned during the course and even achieved success in a few conversations. Furthermore, I scheduled and planned the trips to the UK and Germany for our delegation, and this task required a certain amount of concentration and accuracy.
Whereas the department was negatively affected by the lack of the correct policies and the abundance of bureaucracy, the networking opportunities it granted could definitely be considered as a strong asset to this career. In fact, I had a lot of opportunities to engage in informal communication with businessmen, politicians, diplomats, governmental officials, NGOs activists and others when I visited official events held by the department. In the list of contacts, there were professionals from other continents and countries. Therefore, if connected wisely, all these contacts could have been used for launching quite a powerful international initiative. The international relations are, unfortunately, interconnected with etiquette and rules that one should observe; however, in case one decides to abandon this domain, all these contacts could be utilized for ones benefit. In fact, the department has not put considerable effort into nurturing these networking opportunities so that all of them occur as a matter of daily routine. The opportunities that might emerge out of the networking practice might be both professional and personal ones; thus, they usually increase the chances of meeting the necessary partner or employee and employer among others that furthers the career development. Hooley and Dodd (2015) assert that there is clear research evidence which links social capital to both successful transitions to work and to longer term career success. Social capital also helps individuals cope and remain resilient during periods of unemployment. Therefore, the networking events offered by the given organisation could be considered as an advantage and dynamic factor facilitating the professional growth and progress.
The Effect the Working Environment and Networking Practices Have on Career Development
The internship has revealed a number of work-related issues that might either contribute to the professional development or impede it. Specifically, they include the working environment, policies and networking opportunities. Talking about the working environment, it is associated with a number of issues, including communication patterns, job etiquette, and team spirit among others. The working environment is usually formed by employees, though there are cases when it is raised within the incubator by HR teams, though it frequently occurs in large corporations or IT companies. The department were I served my internship did not pay much attention to the work culture. Contrariwise, it was quite poisoned by bureaucracy and other sins of the state-run agencies. Therefore, the work progress and professional development was largely dependent on the initiatives and eagerness of employees. They were not grown or developed within the department since many decisions were still approved by the supervisors; thus, the employees did not learn to act on their own and to take the initiative whenever needed. As a result, over time, these abilities withered.
Talking about the policies regarding career development, communication and other patterns, they also have substantial effect on job satisfaction and progress that a professional makes within the given company. The department where I took my internship lacked these programs, and many prominent specialists actually left this organisation, as they could no longer grow and develop. Moreover, I also felt the shortage of attention to personal and work-related issues of employees and ignorance of career development opportunities. The policies that were introduced facilitated and nurtured bureaucracy. Thus, only those who were interested in introducing changes or some reforms over time remained within the system. As Kaya and Ceylan (2014) admit in such cases, if the organisation fails or becomes unable to fulfill the workers desires, organisational climate may be disrupted, and stress may increase (188). Moreover, the researchers also note that it is seen that professional progress lines become clear, the employees promotion possibilities increase, and they may also benefit from the increase in their status and income by career development programs (Kaya & Ceylan, 2014, 189). Therefore, in order to encourage employees to work more productively and effectively, the department might merely introduce clearer and transparent procedures that will ensure that when certain requirements are met, the person can get a promotion. As a result, it will motivate employees to show their commitment and work producing more output.
The Influence of Workplace Culture on Performance and Overall Job Satisfaction
The organisational culture is another important factor that significantly shapes the rates of job satisfaction and motivation among employees. Some employers specifically invest in building a strong corporate culture that will prevent the organisation from the high turnover rates and other challenges related to it. A positive organisational culture might also serve as a strong attractive factor for high-profile officials. It might also prevent them from leaving the organisation, as they choose to stay with the same colleagues, workplace freedom that they have and other bonuses. The organisational culture is, in fact, composed of a few components. First, it includes the rules and policies that are enforced at the company and which actually determine its type, namely liberal, democratic, authoritative, successful, and unsuccessful among others. Moreover, it is usually represented in some of the attributes. Evidently, in different cases, it might reveal itself differently. The IT companies, for example, usually have transparent rooms, shared spaces decorated with bicycles, hockey tables and others. On the contrary, law companies are usually flavoured with ambitious mottos and the logo on the lobby wall. The third important element of the organisational culture is associated with invisible values or principles that are followed by employees of the company.
The culture might indeed encourage employees to work in a certain way. For example, transparency and clearness in regard to the promotion plans might motivate the employees to be more committed whereas the unfair treatment and discrimination or harassment in the workplace might lead to high turnover rates or overall recession in the company. Raziq and Maulabakhsh (2015) assert that employees are becoming concerned about the working environment which includes working hours, job safety & security, relationship with co-worker, esteem needs and top management as mentioned in this study (723). What is more, the working environments where employees are involved in the decision-making processes are most probably the most successful among the rest. The employees feel engaged in the company to the deepest extent, and it satisfies their feeling of belonging which emerges after all needs are satisfied. In fact, the department where I had an internship did not involve employees in the decision-making process. Moreover, the workers were provided with little freedom in the workplace; therefore, they could not show initiative or grow while occupying their positions. I consider that the employees should indeed decide as many issues as possible or, at least, the ones in which they have expertise. Otherwise, they feel demotivated and ignorant of the matters of the company (Bakotic & Babic, 2013). In some corporations, employees are treated as stakeholders and are even provided with shares, which make them more concerned about the future of the company and more responsible while completing their daily tasks.
The flexible working schedule, less work load and teamwork as well as support shown by the top management might also be considered among the critical factors that form a positive and contributing organisational culture that lures various professionals. Apparently, flexibility is among the key attributes of successful organisations that are mostly human oriented. They show their trust in an employee and the level of responsibility that they represent. Eventually, the level of the organisational culture determines the path that would be taken by the employee whenever they are faced with a moral dilemma at work. Within organisations that do not tolerate unethical behaviour or unfair practices, incorrect decisions will most probably be revealed and condemned. Thus, the rules that might not always be reflected in the companys policies and guidelines will eventually affect the daily routines of the company, shaping its culture and employees.
Challenges at Internship
During the internship, I encountered one of the most challenging issues that prevent effective and productive work. In fact, it is bureaucracy, which consumes a lot of energy and much time that can be more pleasant and provide more output. The employees are provided with little freedom in the workplace so that almost all of the decisions should be confirmed and approved by the supervisors. As a result, it leads to long waiting lines and postponed work that requires preliminary approval. In some cases, I stayed late as I received the response in the afternoon and had to complete the request or provide the necessary documents. In addition, bureaucracy prevented other employees from realising quite useful initiatives that could have contributed greatly to the department and the agency in general. Personally, I prefer a more dynamic and liberal working environment that would allow me to take greater responsibility and achieve more, without being afraid of the failure or similar consequences.
After internship, I realised that professionals should be able to employ both general and profession-related skills to be successful. The awareness of professional issues is critical for career development and progress whereas general skills such as time management, attention to details, accuracy, and ability to concentrate and think critically are necessary within any kind of working environment. It would be reasonable and crucial for me to focus on developing these two sets of skills. I have realised that I need a more liberal and democratic environment, as bureaucracy and the overall working atmosphere significantly affect productivity and motivation to work. I would be glad to have an opportunity to conduct similar activities, as they offer valuable work-related skills as well as networking opportunities.