Alexis Amini, Montreal
Université de Montréal
Given that obtaining an internship in international security is difficult for undergraduate students, the thesis writing activity proposed by Internship Nepal is a golden opportunity. Indeed, even though you are not working within an organization focused on geopolitical forecasting, the proactive research phase that is part of this thesis writing enables you to interact with think tanks, former and actual members of the public service such as diplomats or military personnel, academics as well as the business community. Thus, through those interactions, there are two positive results that help a soon to be master student in getting an internship in international security.
First of all, it’s possible for bachelor students to get a general idea of what are the hard and soft skills necessary for working in a public or private intelligence agency within the context of a future internship once a master student. As a matter of fact, by working closely with think tanks, I discovered that they don’t apply IR theories in their work but the geopolitical methodology which is a foreign policy-analysis method consisting in the study of the influence of physical and geographic features on power politics. Because geography is the most permanent factor in foreign policy-making, it tells a state what it can and cannot do in order to ensure its national security. In other words, geography determines whether a state will be wealthy or poor, powerful or weak and therefore indicates the foreign policy to follow in respect to capabilities define by geographic features. However, this geopolitical methodology isn’t studied at the bachelor level. In consequence, current undergraduates can have a head start in the search for internships in international security once at the graduate level because they are aware of the hard skills needed for working in a public or private organization centered on geopolitical forecasting. Indeed, they can develop this important hard skill long before searching for training in strategic thinking circles.
Second, through all those interactions taking the form of interviews and seminars, I have developed a professional network comprising journalists, retired officials within the diplomatic and military circles as well as experts from think tanks. Consequently, this network will facilitate a soon to be graduate student’s search for an internship in international security in two ways. Firstly, the intern created personal relations with numerous heads of South Asian think tanks whom he can contact for a possible training in the near future. Finally, by exposing the network you built, you can actually show to any potential employer in this domain that you possess the primary soft skill required: networking. It’s important to bear in mind that networking is a fundamental aspect of think tanks who wish to disseminate their findings across civil society through the press and the state institutions like the defense ministry or the foreign affairs department through the former and actual civil servants that are members of think tanks.
Finally, I wish to thank Internship Nepal and more specifically the supervisor M. Humagai who provided me with the first series of contacts that then redirected me to a second series of people to contact and so on thus making his help invaluable. Furthermore, it was a highly rewarding experience for me to work alongside M. Humagai and M. Pandey in expanding the activities offered by Internship Nepal by including a thesis writing option focused on geopolitics. Indeed, both of them encouraged me to keep going despite a few hurdles along the way since we are dealing with a very closed circle of experts in international relations. Last but not least, I thank the Pandey family in general for having been a wonderful hosts that will make you comfortable upon arrival and will treat you as their own children for the entire stay.