This past semester, I studied abroad at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in France. Through this experience, I had the opportunity to take specialized courses such as Migration and Justice in the EU and Refugee Governance and Policy in the Middle East. These classes further equipped me for a future career in humanitarian action in the field of forced migration. I also have combined my studies with practical experience by volunteering with “Sciences Po Refugee Help” to organize activities and excursions for residents of a migrant reception center in Paris. This experience equipped me with a new perspective to understand global and local contexts of migration.

Additionally, I continued my internship as a Junior Officer for Trust Consultancy & Development, a third-party monitoring and evaluation (M&E) organization based in Turkey. Over a few months, I had been given new responsibilities, such as leading a team on preparing and submitting proposals, as well as assisting the Third-Party Monitoring department in cleaning and analyzing quantitative data. I also wrote a blog for the company’s external communications on the opportunities and challenges of integrating information and communications technology in monitoring and evaluation.

Having worked for over five years in program design, management and implementation in the humanitarian sector alongside my bachelor and master studies, I was excited to engage with these types of projects from an independent observer and evaluator perspective. This viewpoint has deepened my understanding of M&E research design and techniques (such as Key Informant Interviews, Focus Group Discussions and Household Surveys), evaluation criteria, and the application of relevant indicators.

Trust’s internship program was very hands-on, with Junior Officers receiving meaningful tasks and responsibilities from the first day. I worked in the proposal writing department, which prepares competitive proposals based on the competencies, deliverables and budget requested in an organization’s Terms of Reference (ToR). This involves effectively reflecting Trust’s capacity to provide the service, developing appropriate methods and a work plan, assigning experienced staff to the project, and developing a competitive financial proposal. Branching out into the proposal writing and business development departments was a new experience that taught me more about the behind-the-scenes functioning of organizations.

I am very grateful for this experience to study in Paris and gain further academic and practical insight into my chosen career path in migration.

Fiona Eichinger is an MAIR student who will graduate in December.

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