Staff in Vienna share one day of their 'UN life' with university students

On the occasion of the United Nations Day, the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) in Vienna organized for the second time a special programme for university students called the 'Shadowing programme'. Sixty eight students from 12 universities in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia had the opportunity to accompany a United Nations staff member for one day and to experience what it is really like to work for the United Nations organizations in Vienna. The 'Shadowing Programme' took place in the Vienna International Centre (VIC) from 16 October until 31 October 2013.

Taking part in the programme were 43 United Nations staff members from 10 different Vienna based organizations and programmes (the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO). Students from various fields of studies were invited to participate, from International Relations and Journalism to Economics to Nuclear Biology. They had the unique opportunity to 'shadow' for one whole day a United Nations staff member who works in a field similar to the one they would like to pursue a career in and to see what a normal working day at the United Nations is like. Moreover, they had the possibility to get hands-on experience and to acquire a better knowledge and understanding of the purposes and structure of the United Nations. "I have learned a lot about the United Nations during my studies, but after my 'shadowing day' I got a much better understanding of how the organization works and what possibilities there are to work with the United Nations. I strongly recommend it to everybody who is interested in working for an international organization in the future," said one of the participants.

The 'shadowing' experiences of the participants were as diverse as their fields of studies: some of them had the chance to accompany an IAEA staff member to the Seibersdorf Laboratories just outside Vienna. Others had the possibility to attend the "International Conference on Topical Issues in Nuclear Installation Safety" in the VIC organized by the IAEA. Two students even 'shadowed' the spokesperson of the Executive Director of UNODC Yury Fedotov,  David Dadge.  

As part of the 'Shadowing Programme', the students also attended a guided tour of the VIC followed by an introductory presentation from UNIS Director Janos Tisovszky. They are also attending a career workshop in November to share their experiences and to learn more about career opportunities within the United Nations. After last year's successful programme and the positive feedback from participants, this year students from Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia were invited to participate. "I think this is an excellent programme, which gives the students the opportunity to learn," said a United Nations staff member. The 'Shadowing Programme' aims to raise awareness of the work of the United Nations and make it more transparent and accessible to the public.

Students from the following universities participated this year: University of Vienna, University of Business and Economics, Vienna University of Technology, Diplomatic Academy, Vienna University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Economic University Bratislava, University of Ljubljana, Eötvös Loránd University, National University of Public Service, Corvinus University of Budapest, University of Pécs and University of Pannonia.