Lama Ranjous, IPD ’18 IPSS Internship

When I applied for the IPSS program as part of my graduate school, I had clear objectives to achieve and good reasons to process the application:

First, as an international student, having international work experience is crucial to guarantee jobs opportunities after the graduation.

Second, working on the field is an extraordinary experience to determine the preferences of the future career and to know what the I am good at and what I need to work on more.

Third, networking, explore new opportunities, and participate in many areas of my interest; on a personal level, moving to New York was similar to moving to a new country. I had many challenges that at some point I thought I’m giving up, but It was a great learning experience.

After reaching the end of this journey, I am pleased that I have achieved my objectives and ready to move to the next step.

350 fellowship and the IPL’s Main Highlights:

I have learned a lot personally and professionally. Moreover, as always our learning moments not only come from success but also from failures: Here are what I have learned:

From the organizational context: working with 350. Org, New York office was helpful to live the “outside classroom experience,” but having my supervisor overseas was not the perfect situation. From this world environment I learned:

1- communication is crucial to achieving any work: Communication is what gives the required information to work on the tasks. Clear communication flow could solve many challenges.

2- Taking the initiatives when it is needed: In many cases, waiting to be guided and cause many damages to your work. Therefore, taking the initiative, reaching out to people and even make a mistake can be the right decision to make.

From my specialization and career field: My study of International Policies helped in many ways during my IPSS work, as Climate Change is the primary driver of the work and strategy. Climate Change is a global issue that required an international effort to work on it. However, the experience of
working with the research team at 350 and working on the IPSS project, was out of my expectation. I did some of the tasks related to my study, but in general, the work was more technical and related to a very specific knowledge of how to develop supporting tools to help the research team. It took me time to realize that I need to use different skills and search for other resources to get the work done.

How the Fellowship experience reshaped me academically and professionally
My experience outside the classroom was both challenging and beneficial. I admit that I needed the academic knowledge many times during my work. I went back to my classes notes, and I have tried to find the information that I needed. However, I have identified the gaps in my knowledge which will help me in the future to focus my energy on what I am missing. Also, it helped me to decide on proceeding my education and applying for Ph.D. programs.
Working with and learning about the different advocacy work in all around the world showed me not only new ways of solving problems but also what it could work for my geographic focus (The Middle East), and what doesn’t work.

“The photo is the flyer of the event that I am organizing which will be at the Global Climate Action Summit. This event sums up all my work during the IPL experience.”

When I decided to continue my studies abroad, My goal was to gain as much experience and knowledge in a variety of subjects which could be useful for my country context. The problem is that I could not be focused on one subject. I had many interests, and I wanted to do all the things together. However, after the IPL experience, I found out that it will be hard to get skilled in all the subjects. Therefore, I narrowed down my interest to a particular subject, which I want to be my area of focus for my Ph.D. program. My vision, for the upcoming five years, is to finish my Ph.D. and to propose my research to be applied in my region.

As I have mentioned before, my goals, my vision, and eventually my Strategy have changed since I started my master degree at MIIS. Now my strategy is to be more focused, and more specific about what I want to achieve and seek every educational and professional experience to develop my skills to be able to transfer this skills and experiences to the region where I come from.
All in all, the IPSS program was a very challenging experience, and it put me out of my comfort zone on any level. However, this challenge has been a lifetime experience by highlighting my strength and recognizing my limitation at the same time.

Click here to read Rana’s report on her project establishing a Research Hub for

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