Bhumika Gupta (21), studied International Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Leiden University. She secured an internship in the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. This is the implementing body that oversees the activities of its 193 members to eliminate chemical weapons and to promote the use of chemistry towards peaceful ends. She has set a path for herself, leading towards the job of her dreams, and this internship is a big step towards that future job.
While applying for the internship, she was asked about why she had chosen International Studies as a Bachelor’s, and which particular skills she felt she had learned there. The International Studies degree is an asset, Bhumika believes, 'for I have several colleagues at OPCW who also are International Studies alumni.'
Looking back at the Bachelor’s programme, she says that International Studies offers its students a great opportunity to learn many valuable skills. 'You learn how to do research, to make presentations, read graphs, work in teams, and so on. These can be of great use in the 'real world'.' She singles out one skill that is particularly good to possess: sensitivity to other cultures.
"You meet so many people from so many different cultures during the International Studies programme, most of them outside of outside or your own culture. You automatically learn how to be respectful to other cultures, and many companies and organisations want you to have exactly that skill."
On top of that, she also uses her communication skills often, as she works on draft press releases, contributes to hosting visits to the OPCW building, communicates with NGO’s and handles parts of the organisation’s website. 'It is important to let the public know about the OPCW’s activities. What they do really counts, chemical weapons are just as harmful as nuclear ones.'
For other Arts alumni and current students of International Studies, Bhumika has a word of advice:
"Apply to all the internships that you can find, that is the best way to gain experience in your chosen field. And search for the kind of jobs that you would like to have further on in your career and see what the requirements are. By doing internships or a master’s programme you can step by step fill those requirements, so that you will qualify for the job of your dreams in the future. That is exactly what I’m doing right now. And the job of my dreams? I’m hoping to be a communications specialist!"