By Kateryna Heseleva, UNDP Intern

At secondary school, I was one of these teenagers who was fond of history and literature, and strongly attached to my books. Copious amounts of reading and study shaped my view of the world and instilled in me a foundation liberal values.

The next significant milestone in the formation of my worldview was the Revolution of Dignity. When Maidan started in November 2013, I, as a 15-year-old teenager, watched the protests keenly, and had a chance to reflect on and discuss such issues as democracy, freedom, and human rights. It was at this point I realised that universal human values are something nobody should ever take for granted, and something we should always be committed to, care about and protect with our daily actions and words.

It was also a time when I began to appreciate how blessed I was to be born among inspiring, brave and committed people, and to become passionately interested in society and politics.

A year the revolution, after I entered university to study Social Communications. In my second semester, I felt that I had too much free time and not enough challenges. So I started looking for my first job opportunities and ending up working for a public relations agency. As I worked there, my wish to contribute to the development of society, to be part of positive changes, to be involved in activities that improve my home country and the world, grew stronger. This desire led me to start an internship at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

During my internship, I was mostly focused on analysing the Integrity and Inclusiveness of Democratic Processes. The research lasted several months, during which 24 regional experts conducted dozens of interviews and analysed various materials, data, statistics, etc. to come up with comprehensive reports. The result of the research activity was a final report that gives a comprehensive overview of the present state of political development in Ukraine. It could serve as a starting point for further research, analysis, surveys, monitoring, advocacy or public awareness campaigns, and educational activities.

I really appreciate how beneficial for my professional development this internship has been. However, even more importantly for me, along with upgrading my professional skills, gaining new competencies, and obtaining new knowledge, the six-month internship made a significant contribution to my personal development. I, a person who was born and who has spent most of their life in Kyiv, had a chance to leave my shell and look at my home country from a completely different perspective.

And last but not least: The feeling of belonging to a global organization that improves people’s lives all around the world, and to a community of people pursuing positive changes, has definitely made me feel much happier and satisfied about my own life, and myself as a person.

Now, as my internship time has flown by, I do feel that I gained not only new skills and knowledge, but also made inner changes that I will carry with me to the next milestones in my life. I feel that I have found pieces of the puzzle that were missing, and have made my worldview more holistic.

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