As the Spring 2016 interns are leaving Oxfam Novib and we
are in full swing hiring interns to start in September, I am also halfway through my year as the Oxfam Novib Academy coordinator. As the coordinator I am responsible for
helping the interns to get the most out of their internships and to support the
mentors in the guidance and mentoring of their interns.
This year Marjolein and Emily two of the spring interns did our first every
impact analysis of interns and made this into two brilliant Info graphics! (Being an intern at Oxfam Novib and Contributing to a just world without poverty) We learned the amazing fact that the interns had drunk 1820 cups of coffee at the time of the survey! But better yet, the interns indicated that the Oxfam Novib Academy was an added value to their internship. I am happy to list that as a success 😀 But we also learned
from the survey that we can still improve in creating a conducive learning
environment for both the intern and mentor. So that is what I will try to realize in the coming months.
As the Oxfam Novib Academy coordinator I have witnessed the
special position of interns in an organization. They are part of the team and
at the same time observers; learning and seeing how things are done. I have
seen how this position gives them the opportunity to share valuable insights
into the working culture and the organization in general. And thankfully, I
have also seen that at Oxfam Novib, being a fairly flat organization, interns
can share these insights. They end up having lunch with one of the directors
and discuss campaigns with them or sit down with an entire international
team for a rare face to face meeting that they helped to organize.
Intern are also part of many meetings, get to know a lot of
people and are included in all team activities. Being part of the Academy
interns obtain more exposure to other teams then some off the Oxfam Novib staff. A mentor once said that the interns were more up-to-date and aware of what was happening in the organization than they were. Interns don’t just bring their own knowledge, background and skills, but they also contribute to the cohesion in the organization as a whole.
For an intern an internship it is the ideal time to try out
different things, to fail and try again better the next time. An internship is
designed to learn; the intern learns, the mentor learns and the Oxfam Novib
academy is still learning as well. As an organization as a whole, Oxfam Novib is
constantly learning and developing. Having groups of students join us every
half year is a breath of fresh air, a source new inspiration and a boost for our motivation. Having to teach someone means reevaluating what you know and what knowledge to transfer in what manner.
Anouk van Schaik started as the coordinator of the Oxfam Novib academy in January 2016 after being an intern herself in the Behind the Brands team of Oxfam Novib.