International RelationsCareer Challenge
June 17-21, 2019
Johns Hopkins University, Advanced Academic Programs, Washington DC, USA
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Reviews from Our Past Attendees

Congratulations to young professionals who have successfully completed the IRCC program! The IRCC program has a 100% satisfaction rate – the data collected anonymously from the program graduates. View the details here.

Upon program completion, graduates were able to follow the path they have selected for themselves: get employed in the developmental sector, including the United Nations system, government and private sector, or proceed further with their studies. You may learn more about the career outcomes in 12 months after the IRCC course graduation on this page. Stories of the participants who agreed to share their success and feedback on the IRCC program are presented below.

Lucas Silva Lopes
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
Taking part in the IRCC was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. Having always been interested in economic development, I applied for the IRCC with the specific goal in mind of getting some hands-on experience and go beyond what textbooks told me about how development could be achieved. I wanted to know how to start a career in the field of development and what organizations best suited the goals I had in mind. Not only did I achieve both of my goals, but I also ended up gaining much more than I had ever hoped for.

The selection of countries to be studied made the five-day event extremely entertaining, and the fact that I ended up representing one of the countries I most admire, Uruguay, just made the five days at the IRCC even more enjoyable. Even though I did not possess much expertise on the issue of gender equality, it was extremely refreshing to learn a new topic alongside my teammates. The five days my team and I spent together learning about gender equality and the paid care sector in Uruguay really helped me improve my research, communication and time management skills, given that we had a limited window to put together a report and a presentation on our topic.

The most important thing I gained from the IRCC, however, was confidence. Through interview simulations and giving presentations to people who actually work in international organizations, the IRCC gave me confidence when applying for jobs and when communicating my research findings to others. The five days I spent at the IRCC also made me realize that a career in policy research and analysis is definitely a career I want for myself. After the IRCC, I feel more than ready to take on the job market and make a name for myself in international development. I cannot thank the IRCC and Alexandra Gordina enough for allowing me to take part in this event. I will always cherish the memories I have of the KCL IRCC 2019.

Angela Dimas
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
The International Relations Career Challenge was an important step in developing my profes- sional career. I attended the program with two career goals in mind: how to guarantee a job op- portunity with the United Nations, and to take advantage of the networking opportunities avail- able through the guest speakers. I am proud to say that as a direct result from the program, I have gained a vast amount of knowledge on how to succeed, and gained the confidence re- quired to be successful in this field.

On the very first day, you are given the opportunity to go through interview simulations and you receive proven techniques on what employers look for while you talk about your experiences. By the end of the week, the class had the opportunity to hear all of the professional speaker’s successes, and how they advanced through the field and reached their career goals. Their contact information becomes available to you for future contact, and they emphasized at the program that they are all very willing to try and help you in any way possible.

The most crucial part of the entire week for me was the application and cover letter day on the final day. There were HR professionals there who had 15 plus years of experience, and dis- cussed the resume and cover letter portion in thorough detail; which was relevant to any kind of job application in the development field. I was actually able to identify some key areas I can work on to improve my chances of a successful application.

There was also a 20 minute one-on-one session, where I was able to speak with someone who previously worked at the United Nations in New York City. I gained a valuable perspective from an experienced professional as to what I need to do in order to enhance my opportunities and career goals of working with the UN. The combination of the application process and personal advise from a UN professional was truly a unique perspective that I gained; and career advice that I will continue to work on as I establish myself in the international relations field.

Lastly, the project during the week was an incredibly valuable lesson as to the rigors that come with a profession in development. It was a very eye-opening experience, while only have three days with my team members to come up with research on the assigned country, develop a sim- ulation project, and a campaign proposal. It was challenging and inviting to work with a team from unique countries of the world, and a great way to become familiarized with the available opportunities in the field.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank the IRCC team for selecting me, and I am grateful to have had this experience. I definitely recommend it to anyone who has a passion for establishing a career in the international relations!

Rory Daniels
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
I couldn’t recommend the International Relations Career Challenge highly enough. Over the course of the week, I worked with other young people aspiring to a career in international development, ultimately producing reports and presenting our findings to experts in the field. After receiving personalised feedback, I then had the opportunity to quiz these experts about applications and careers. I think this personal element was my favourite thing about the course, as every participant received tailored advise through one-on-one mock interviews and career consultations. This meant that I knew exactly what my strengths and weaknesses were in every main area of international development – a positive that no other programme I’ve researched seems to offer.

Melissya Debora Sitopu
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
The IRCC is an amazing opportunity to explore my interest in international development works, expand my network, and more importantly, to meet the like-minded young professionals aspiring to take a more meaningful role in their career. The program was indeed very intensive with full-packed simulations. We were allocated in a group to do research, develop policy recommendations, plan a project, and develop a campaign strategy – all within three days! But it is a valuable experience to get the gist of how those works are carried out in practice. I do learn to build chemistry with my team, work more effectively, and build the confidence to present our findings and strategies in front of the panels who are the expert in the field.

Another highlight from the program is the exceptional speakers. We had the opportunity to network with those who have built their career in the United Nations, think tanks, and non-government organizations. Listening to their story in making impacts and creating change through their work was truly inspirational!

As a graduate student with a stint experience working in the private sector, my goal in joining the IRCC was to figure out a suitable role for me in the international development sector. But at the end of the program, I got more than I expected. Not only that I had the opportunity to reflect upon my career progression, but I met a group of talented and inspiring individuals from different parts of the world whom I will forever call as friends.

Ratidzo Chinyuku
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
Being a successful participant of the IRCC program has not only been a life changing experience but has provided an inspiration towards a career in international relations and development. This program expanded my professional network by conducting real international development simulations. The simulations, research, and policy, project management in addition to campaigns and outreach, were not only challenging but provided scope for professional and personal development. More importantly, I became acquainted with the United Nations framework, values and competencies by which the aforementioned are governed by. The agenda this year was to understand and decipher gender inequality in the assigned country. Further to that, we proposed policies that equally addressed the social constructs that fail to recognise the heterogeneity of women’s roles and consequently reproduce unequal power relations between women and men. To that end, our policy proposals sought to transform and better the social landscape in respect to women, by promoting gender-sensitive macro-economic change. It is with joy that I acknowledge the skillset and attributions contributed by a diverse and multicultural network of colleagues. As a medical scientist, my professional remit focused on transformative healthcare policy. Within our team, however, I sought the expertise of peers from the fields of policy, international relations, law and economics, thus demonstrating the importance of diversity and talent within the United Nations. From the above, I have garnered an impressive accolade and skillset that identifies the context and problem analysis, commercial awareness, project management with a view of risk mitigation, results framework, monitoring and sustainability.

Minerva Sadek
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
My IRCC experience at KCL 2019 has been amazing. This was a totally engaging workshop as I have learned and experienced so many new things in such a short period of time. It provided an excellent balance of information, practice and interaction. The IRCC offered the ideal multicultural environment as people from around the globe gathered to work on a common subject. Therefore, the discussions were challenging; giving me a deep understanding of gender issues and how our different cultural backgrounds can affect the way we perceive this specific subject. The speakers always gave a highly constructive feedback which reformed and improved our policy recommendation, project management and campaign and outreach skills. The highlight of my participation was the practical experience that I gained working within various professional roles, in addition to the amazing new friends that I met, making this event a memory that I’ll always cherish.

Timotius Marvin Tan
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
The IRCC has really challenged me to think about what I want to do in the field of International Relations, based on my strengths, skills, experiences, and interests. The role simulation was really helpful and practical to help me understand what I can possibly contribute in the IR field. The network of people I met during the programme is very valuable, not only the distinguished speakers, but also the fellow participants. Practical advices on pursuing career in IR were shared during the programme. For someone with working experiences not in the IR field itself, IRCC has benefited me in knowing what I want and the possible route to achieve it. I would highly recommend IRCC to anyone who is interested in working in the IR field. It was an eye-opening experience!

Yasmin Almeida Lobato Morais
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
If I could choose one word to describe IRCC, I would say “challenging”. During the program, I felt challenged to be immersed into the international development career, which is my objective. Working on a diverse team with tight deadlines and presentations to professionals in the field, I had the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge I have gained from university and the soft skills I have developed. In addition, professional development sessions such as the competency-based interviews and the CV-building sessions provided me with tools that I will use in any job application in the future. Networking with participants from 21 other countries was also valuable to me. The cohort’s quality is impressive, which turns even informal conversations over lunch into learning opportunities. Lastly, the IRCC showed me that, despite all challenges we will face in the international development field, being motivated by such challenges – rather than intimidated by them – is key to success.

Christine Shahbenderian
IRCC 2019 KCL Intake
To all young professionals who wish to get a helpful push in their career and to be set on the right track towards a successful international development career pathway, you should not miss this. The immediacy and friendly approach of the speakers as well as of the main host and organiser of the training, Ms. Alexandra Gordina was something that I experienced for the first time. They really introduce you to the machinery of modern career development and what are the skills and knowledge which you need to have in order to chase your dream job. On a personal level, I currently try to implement all the advice given during the training, by keeping in touch with some of the speakers, and this has made all the difference in my professional experience as well as observed an increased confidence in myself, made possible by the continuous and generous support provided to me.

Hugo de Choisy
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
My experience at the IRCC helped in a way I did not expect. As a student in Politics, I knew that I would like to follow my career into the political area but I did not know how or where to start. Indeed, the academic way of studying politics can sometimes be abstract. The IRCC provided me with extremely useful tools to understand clearly what is the world of the International Relations and of International Development. Each of the speakers has something to bring to the discussion either by their great experience or by their view of the professional world and they are very accessible for a discussion. Furthermore, what makes the IRCC experience really unique is the fact that Alexandra and all the people that were working for the IRCC do everything to make the atmosphere friendly and relaxed. Thanks to them at the end of the week, l met some really interesting people from all over the world, which is really useful in order to develop personal and professional network.

Lilly Namani
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” Albert Einstein. I started this note with one of my favorite quotes, because finding my career path has been challenging, as of course most people would say the same thing. Throughout, my journey in life I have always known where my heart really belonged, and that is working for an organization where together we can work towards improving the world for the better. However, it has not been easy to begin this pathway; not once did I give up in searching for my purpose because when you don’t give up, therein lies an opportunity.

The International Relations Career Challenge Program has been an educational, practical, and inspiring opportunity that I was hoping to come across one day. This was my chance to learn as much as I could about the international relations field. The IRCC has a lot to offer, as I walked away with so much knowledge and understanding of what it really takes to practice in this challenging field.

I learned that out of the three professional roles, the top two roles that I see myself working in are the ‘Project Management and the Campaign and Outreach’ roles. The most challenging role for me was the Research and Policy Recommendations however, even though it was challenging, later on when talking to guest speakers who were policy advisors I gained more interest and came to realize that that may as well be a career path that I would chose to pursue in the future. The professional roles have helped me identify my strengths as well as my awareness about how important each role is in the international development field. It is one thing to learn about it, but to actually have the opportunity to present in front of professionals who take part in these roles in everyday life was very challenging, but absolutely rewarding at the same time. It was a learning experience that only those who participate can truly grasp all the knowledge and feedback from the experts and understand how challenging it would be to actually implement projects at the United Nations during real life situations.

It was also an honor to have the opportunity to meet highly experienced and intelligent professionals who already work in the international development field. Being able to talk to professional guest-speakers who can guide you, and share their career path was a very educational and an encouraging opportunity, as I would say it is a valuable chance that you probably won’t get elsewhere but in this program. I have connected with all the speakers through LinkedIn in which has helped me build my network within the international relations field and learning about different careers has given me an idea of where I want to be in five to ten years.

The IRCC also provides a class in which you learn how to navigate the United Nations Inspira along with building your resume and writing your cover letter with keywords that the job description has. This was a very educational opportunity as I got the chance to work on my resume and cover letter in which I feel more confident when applying for a competitive job.
For any individual who knows they belong in the international relations field, but needs guidance or encouragement than this is your chance to invest in yourself and pursue this five day program. The people you will meet will always and forever remain in network with you and the experience itself is challenging, but definitely a learning experience and worth it. Thank you Alexandra Gordina for this opportunity, as I will always be very proud to know that I was a part of the International Relations Career Challenge Program 2018.

Saron Bireda
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
The International Relations Career Challenge has given me the opportunity to learn from professionals in the field that I would like to join in the future. I have learned what it takes to succeed in the International development world. The program challenged us to think outside the box and become problem solvers. The advice, information and motivation I got form the guest speakers are invaluable. By the end of the program, I had a clear understanding of what career path I want to take. I recommend this program to anyone who wants to work in International Development but is not sure what part of development you want to work in. The assignments will give you practical experience that can help you narrow down the path you want to take. Lastly, I would like to end by saying my IRCC experience gave me not only practical skills I could use, like interview skills, communication skills, research skills but also taught me the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone in order to grow and achieve the career goal you have set for yourself.

Daniel Pertwee
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
The International Relations Career Challenge (IRCC) was fundamental to my observance of broader, global solutions mechanisms, the nuances fueling transnational program and policy evaluations and access to the esteemed professionals advancing international outputs. I was personally stimulated by the graciousness of program mentors and organizers to genuinely convey experiential deliverables that provided clear insight into the trials and remunerations of an international career path. IRCC constructed creative environments amongst the most resourceful and innovative minds throughout the international relations community and will continue to serve as a scaffold for which I will erect a meaningful and impactful career upon.

Brynn Hammond
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
The International Relations Career Challenge was one of the most memorable, enriching experiences of my career. There is often a lack of information or guidance available on how to get started in a career in international relations, and the IRCC facilitates a challenging, practical simulation of various positions within the field to help you determine the jobs you are legitimately excited about. No matter the area you’re interested in, you will be provided with real-world job experience as well as the opportunity to meet leaders in the field. You will leave with a new network of extremely talented, intelligent, inspiring individuals, as well as a solid grasp on where you should align your professional goals.


Alexis Lenderman
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
The IRCC program gave me valuable insight into what it will take to be successful in the realm of international development. This is an incredibly competitive field and with programs like this to help me network, develop skills like policy recommendations and campaigning, I will have a competitive advantage when applying for the next step in my career. From this experience, it grew my interest in this field and helped me learn different avenues to get involved in the United Nations as well as how to get more experience for career development.


Claire Haiqi Zhou
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
Before I attend the IRCC 2018 at John Hopkins University, I set three goals. To communicate with people in international development world, to get some mentoring/coaching from the speakers, and to learn the UN PHP application skills. After one week of the IRCC program, I felt so lucky and proud that I have achieve all the three goals.
The following is how IRCC program helps/ will help me with my future career development.
-An excellent speakers’ penal with mid-level and senior international affairs experts to share their experience and expertise. They were dedicated to help us to understand their career development path and the technical skillsets we need to have to work on a specific role.
-A great opportunity to connect with the experts and to start a mentorship one might dream of.
-IRCC is a great program both because of its events’ organization and its activities’ concepts. I like that the IRCC program doesn’t only take the attendees as audience but also involve all the attendees to participant in the policy proposal and project implementation practice. By working on the assignments and listening to the feedback from the evaluation speakers, I learnt a lot of the hands-on skills. I also found the assignment instruction materials are very helpful, and I plan to review it a lot and be prepared for a UN or UN agency job application.

As a young professional just stepping into the international development world, IRCC empowered me both with soft and hard skill to work in the international relations filed, and it inspired me to have a strategic mindset to develop my career.

Elsa Haoyou Yu
IRCC 2018 JHU Intake
My experience at IRCC was filled with inspiration, information, and vision. Coming from a Neuroscience & Literature background with a passion for the global humanitarian affairs, I was looking for a door to the realm of International Development. IRCC offered me what I looked for and gave me much more. What impacted me the most was working closely with the other talented young minds and the opportunity to improve day by day under the guidance of the experts. During the five-day intense program, each day was purposefully scheduled, and each session meticulously arranged. Every speaker demonstrated their passion to help. The UN professionals generously provided their mentorship on various functions in International Affairs. The HR specialists gave tailored advice to each participant, revealing their expertise in personal branding and job searching. Looking back, not only did IRCC unlock the door for me to a future career path in International Development, but it also shed light upon the inward window, through which I could envision my own strength, values, and life mission. At IRCC, one would feel simultaneously challenged, encouraged, and reassured.

Ignacio Madrid
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
Participating in the International Relations Career Challenge has been without a doubt one of the most moving experiences so far. Listening to the most influential people in international relations every day has led me to discover a passion for public policy. Not only that, but also, the work was a real challenge: the projects required us to be analytical and creative at the same time. I could never imagine that my presentations would be evaluated by the directors of international organisations and the United Nations. What I liked most about the course were the values I have learned. It was not only practical and theoretical knowledge, it was also teamwork, co-ordinate and listen to all the opinions in the group. I had never met so many people from such different backgrounds! Without a doubt, I am very proud to have made the decision to apply to this course and I would recommend it wholeheartedly to my friends.

Jessica Santoyo Henaine
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
When you come from a place that tells you constantly that big opportunities are hard to get or made for others, you start believing them. Not so many doors will open and if they do, they will be hard to get. For me, the International Relations Career Challenge program was a change of mindset. To have the chance to hear the background of experts and discuss with them about their interests and solutions to the problems that the world is currently having was a fulfilling experience that not so many programs offer. Not only I am sure about what I would like to do in the future, but also the new networking relations, friendships and knowledge.

Michael David Eggleston
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
The International Relations Career Challenge (IRCC) is more than just a challenge; it’s the start to a lifelong journey of seeking fulfillment and impactfulness in the issues you care about. From the interdisciplinary and intercultural teamwork to the world-class advice given by experts in the field of international development, it is hard not to expect a change in self-awareness and growth in maturity. If you are looking for clarity, whether a student or young professional, the IRCC provides all of its participants with the framework and guidance to develop a personalized set of tools that will facilitate the procurement of a future helping the world become a better place.

Marianne Govic
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
The IRCC is the perfect opportunity to work with people from all over the word and learn from their experiences. The best way to learn is outside your comfort zone, that’s where we are exposed to new ways of thinking and develop the capacity to navigate fearlessly into the unknown. The IRCC was a valuable experience that immerses you in the challenges and rewards of working under pressure towards a common goal, I can’t help but quote the Greek philosopher Aristotle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. The program develops your capacity to solve contemporary issues and build strong partnerships to lead through the lens of humanity. The speakers were generous with insights and shared realistic strategies on what it takes to thrive in international affairs. A simple yet powerful message that resonated deeply was from guest speaker Andrew Macleod (Author, Humanitarian, former UN diplomat)…..“Do good and inspire others”!

Kevin Koene
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
While working in the field of international relations has always been my dream, I have had to find the ideal role/career that suits my strengths and abilities. The IRCC offered me just that and more by giving me the opportunity to get hands-on experience of the work in the field of international relations, to meet and network with speakers and other participants from all around the world and to get insights into the possible career paths within IR. The program’s interdisciplinary and intercultural approach exceeded all my expectations and I can only recommend the IRCC to anyone who is looking to start a career in the field of international relations.

Lais Paiva Siqueira
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
The IRCC was personally a positive surprise. At first I was hopping to obtain general informations about the international relations field. However, the program offers much more than that. It brings you practical and useful information, such as entry requirements, possible career development and even insights on how the field work is like, from professionals who actually work in the field. Moreover, the assignments proposed simulating the daily working life within an international organization helped to make more concrete the general idea of how it is to work for such organizations. In a nutshell, it was one of the most valuables experiences I have ever had, both professionally and personally.

Alyssa Tiangco
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
Aid and development work has many facets and understanding how it works is somewhat difficult, and although a bit fortunate to have dipped my toes in aid work after Haiyan – finding the right niche and making strides in the sector have been hard-pressed. Being able to participate in the program have not only given me a much deeper insight, understanding, and awareness about the work but I have also gained lasting friendships. The program was indeed a challenge – the activities done throughout the week enabled us to be researchers, project managers, and advocacy/campaign managers in a short amount of time – it definitely wasn’t a walk in the park. Furthermore, the thing that struck me the most was being able to differentiate who I want to be and what I want to do, being knowledgeable about my skillset and finding an organization that needs your skill but also fuels your passion. At the end of the program, my greatest takeaway is having this greater love for development work and a realization as to the kind of work I want to do.

Renuka Iyer
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
The International Relations Career Challenge at King’s College London allowed students to exercise what they already knew while at the same time question and test their ideas against the realities of development project work. In addition to creating a bridge between academia and the professional requirements of working in international development, the programme allowed for me to meet – and work with – students and professionals who came from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. The most important takeaway was the chance to get invaluable feedback on my work from specialists with years of experience in development fieldwork and project management in crisis zones – this contributed not only to my learning, but also my outlook on future career possibilities.

Meran Annalingam
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
The IRCC was an invaluable experience for someone like me aspiring to get into International Development. I learned about how to get into the field, and how it works in practice. The combination of undertaking UN tasks in the form of a project, getting insights from people currently working in International Development as well as receiving expert advice about CVs and interviews, makes this one week truly worthwhile. Getting my proposals on how to promote economic development in a post-conflict society scrutinised and constructively criticised by people who have had years of experience doing exactly that, was a cherishing experience; this interaction with the professionals in International Development is the essence and unique characteristic of this programme. This one week was eye-opening, motivating and inspirational.

Zilan Kara
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
My participation in the International Relations Careers Challenge has granted me significant clarity in regards to my future career aspirations. I have had the privilege of gaining valuable insight into the experiences of industry representatives and my peers alike. I have also had the opportunity to capitalise on my present skillset when completing assigned team tasks. In essence, becoming a part of the IRCC network has provided me with a strong foundation for being inspired by differential experiences, emulating them and executing my personal aspirations.

Shihui Yin
IRCC 2018 KCL Intake
Attending this one-week International Relations Careers Challenge (IRCC) training session was a great opportunity for me to explore various international organisations which I was not aware of before, such as European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and International Alert. Through those experiences shared by guest speakers, now I have a wider vision of what it is like of working in different kinds of international organisations and how to accumulate my working experience in international organisations field in order to jump into a higher level of position. The interview skills and application techniques are definitely valuable for us as young professionals. In addition, regarding the teamwork projects during those 3 days (day 2, 3, 4), although my team (Ukraine) was the final winner, it was really challenging and demanding to finish a project within a half day. Nevertheless, I think the assignment tools could be very applicable and useful for my future career and this was a huge gain. Finally, the network I have established over the IRCC program also gave me more opportunities to consult practical experts in the field and among our colleagues, we can share our working experiences with and learn from each other in the future career.

Julian Blom
IRCC 2017 JHU Intake
Coming from the private sector with limited experience in the international relations field, the IRCC gave me great insights into the procedures and challenges involved. The course outline was well laid-out and covered the main functional areas, supported by intensive group projects based on current affairs. Additionally the course provided great networking opportunities both with guest speakers and among students. I was positively impacted by the IRCC, and would highly recommend it to anyone who is either about to start a career in international relations, or looking to integrate into the field. Whether directly or indirectly, I am 100% sure that the outcome from the IRCC will kick-start my career in international relations!
Emily Lorra Hines
IRCC 2017 JHU Intake
I was fortunate to participate in the International Relations Career Challenge with YPUN, Ltd. in Washington DC. While I’m excited to share that my team, representing Tanzania, won the competition, it was the connections and ultimate friendships I made during the week that stay with me. This week has renewed my love in International Affairs and my belief in the strength of policy. I can’t suggest applying for this experience more, especially if you are struggling to find your passion again following higher education.

Valentijn Punt
IRCC 2017 JHU Intake
I am certain my experience at the IRCC will positively affect my career path- and change. It still amazes me how much this one-week program has made such a lasting impact on me: the inspiring speakers, the assignments, the excitement of the time pressure to complete our presentations, and most importantly my fellow participants. It was truly a “work hard, play hard” week, as life should be!

Sonia - Sun Wen Qin
IRCC 2017 JHU Intake
The IRCC is more than a conference. It is difficult to find a career that is most appropriate for ourselves. But it doesn’t mean we have to stop or hesitate when opportunities knocked at the door – and that’s why I decided to participate in the IRCC. It really helped me a lot on the career searching and life journey challenging. A series of practical programs with experienced experts and aspiring like-minded professionals from different continents do provide me necessary intercultural environments and precious experience on a career choosing. Meanwhile, traveling to a remote country to take part in the program is a unique life experience. As for me, together with all knowledge gained at the program, travel with many hours flights, several hotels reservation, famous scenic spots viewing, experience on different kinds of gourmet food plus all walks of people I met during the whole journey will be an exceptional treasure in my whole life experience.

Ishani Debnath
IRCC 2017 JHU Intake
I had the privilege to be a part of the IRCC program focusing on conflict resolution and refugee integration. Besides meeting with leading experts in this field, this program provided us with extremely valuable insights, knowledge and helped us gain practical experience on project management and implementation. Delivering project recommendations under the time constraint with your team and incorporating the feedback from the panel of experts to improve the socio-economic conditions of the refugees and asylum seekers required a multi-faceted work environment involving research, project management and implementation, advocacy, outreach and policy recommendations. Being able to share this platform with colleagues who have a common vision and being part of the winning team at the end of the program was an enriching experience and I am looking forward to applying it in the future.

Minnie Cui
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
Growing up, international development was an enigma to me – I always knew I wished for nothing more than to make a difference in the world but could never decipher where I can make a true contribution. The IRCC helped me precisely define my ambitions and how they align with my unique set of skills. The conference not only allowed me to explore professional roles suited to the current trajectory of my development, but also opened my eyes to other crucial roles I didn’t know I had to ability to undertake. In summary, my week was a humbling experience filled with research into problems in foreign countries I had never even thought about, presentations to initially-intimidating professionals within the field I never thought I would have an opportunity to talk to, friendships with like-minded individuals that will surely blossom into professional relationships in the near future, and I loved every second of it.

Brittany Pembroke
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
The progression from university to the career realm can be overwhelming – especially in the competitive age we exist. However, attending the IRCC in 2017 opened up doors I did not think possible. The guest-speakers who attended the IRCC mentioned three ‘power actions’ that a young professional must entail to fulfil their career capabilities: the power of persistence, the power of networking and the power of volunteering. Attending the IRCC provided me with extremely valuable insights, knowledge and perspectives from the guest speakers on various job roles and the best way to be employable. Attending the IRCC was the basis of spending three months in Rwanda volunteering – largely because I took on the advice of the speakers: to persist, network and volunteer. As a consequence, I have a much clearer idea of my future career path as well as increased career prospects.

Bhargav Sriganesh
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
The International Relations Careers Challenge (IRCC) is not like any other workshop, seminar or conference. As the name suggests, the IRCC will challenge participants to deliver projects under time pressure, work in teams, present to a panel of experts and quickly incorporate the feedback to improve their performance in subsequent tasks. The theme for this year’s IRCC was “Women’s Economic Empowerment”. We were split into teams and each group was assigned a particular country. Subsequently, we had to work on tasks related to enhancing women’s economic empowerment in the assigned country. The tasks assigned to us were meant to simulate the kind of multi-faceted work – research, project management and advocacy – that UN officials are engaged in. After completing the tasks, we had the opportunity to present in front of experts like Mike Penrose (Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund) and Thomas Erikkson (Deputy Director for European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). They provided invaluable feedback on our progress and even gave us some insider knowledge on the challenges that they faced whilst implementing projects at the UN. Most importantly, on the last day of the IRCC, participants were given hands-on, practical tips on how they can navigate the UN Inspira application portal. Overall, I would highly recommend the IRCC. It was an enriching and engaging programme!

Sanjana Rathi
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
For me, the IRCC was a life changing workshop, through which I was able to get firsthand experience of working in a project, as a team and under pressured circumstances, in the field of international relations.
My knowledge about the work of the United Nations was limited to what is given in the online articles and videos. However, through IRCC, I was able to personally connect with experts working at the international organisations to enhance my knowledge and broaden my perspective, which helped me envision the working environment of the UN.
While working on practical assignments simulating future work responsibilities on the issue of Gender Equality, I was able to better analyse my strengths and weaknesses and ask for suggestions for future improvement. Also, this platform helped me to connect with prospective colleagues, and most importantly, wonderful human-beings, who share a common vision for a better world.

Andreea Badiu-Slabu
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
The knowledge and skills gained at the International Relations Career Challenge contributed towards both my academic and professional life. All that I learned through this experience has applied in the roles I had after that. My participation in the IRCC was a crucial step for my career and it gave me more confidence in myself. Moreover, it enabled me to better understand the people I work with.



Francesco Bruno
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
The International Relations Career Challenge has been a life-changing course for me. I had the opportunity to meet with multiple professional panellists who have worked for the United Nations in the past and have also made important contributions in their work. Among them, I met the director of UNICEF UK as well as experts who have been working for the Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan and representatives for Women Empowerment programs. In addition, I also worked with incredible colleagues with inspiring stories and ideas. I felt truly blessed to have been able to work with some of the future leaders of our societies. The course has been challenging for me, but it is an experience of which I am proud of. During interviews for future jobs, I often point out this course for its complete nature and the challenging environment in which I worked as well as the people I met with. It also equips the participant with the knowledge of researching policies, project management as well as public speaking and presentation skills.

Qurat Ul Ain Arendas
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
As my career goal is to work at the United Nations, the Program has trained and pointed me in the right direction where to look for future career opportunities that match my educational background and my skills. In addition, while attending the Program, I was able to expand my network of contacts, which is very important for future endeavours. Speaking directly to UN diplomats willing to share their valuable knowledge and provide necessary information for future career development is very important for young professionals. After attending the IRCC Program, I have learned to frame my cover letter pointing out my skills and competencies according to the career opportunities, which is essential when applying for international organizations.  Lastly, the best part of the Program is the speakers and the organizers always willing to provide proper guidance, which has aided a young professional like me to build my future professional career in the field and organization of my choice.

Ludovic Arnaud
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
Participating in the IRCC allowed me to move from a general interest in International Relations to the conviction that I want to work in this sector. The seminars provided me with an in depth understanding of international organisations, which I found was an invaluable opportunity to forego my preconceived and romanticised ideas in favour of a more realistic vision of UN bodies. This experience cannot be found in Model United Nations or in a classroom, which is why I strongly recommend anyone interested in pursuing a career in International Relations to participate in this programme.

Maximilian Kallenbach
IRCC 2017 KCL Intake
Since the very beginning of my studies at University, I wanted to pursue a career in the field of international relations. But honestly, I did not really know what this exactly means. After one week attending the IRCC, I have learned many new skills and I am way better prepared for a career in this highly competitive field. The participation showed me what it needs to work for the UN as we simulated one week the real-life work of the UN, which is funny, demanding and tough. At the end, we got an insight into how applying for an internship or the YPP program, which was very helpful. I would definitely say that it affected my career and intentions in a very good way, as I met many renowned speakers I could ask questions about such a career path and I can prepare my selves much better for my future career plans.

Sandhya Pachiappan
IRCC 2016 Columbia University Intake
Although I wanted to be at the UN so much, I would not have been there so soon without the crash course. I wish to say that it ignited my passion more so I landed here at the UN at the right time. This is for all of you who want to shape what you already know about the UN from the website or anywhere. It’s a platform to put to test of what you know about the organisation.