The idea of interning at the United Nations came to me through the desire of helping my country, Honduras, while it’s facing tremendous socio-economic and political problems. Being so far away from home made me think it was difficult to make an impact locally, but my ambition to follow my dream at that time was bigger than the fear of never accomplishing it. I was concerned whether or not I was competitive enough, and even doubted if my small contribution would make any change in such difficult circumstances. Surprisingly enough, my first attempt was a success.
During the Spring 2015 Semester, I started my journey at the Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations. My only knowledge on the issues that were being addressed at the organization had come from my Model UN and International Politics courses at Manhattanville College. It was not until I was inside the glorious UN headquarters in New York City that I was able to experience first-hand the work of the United Nations: not from books and newspapers, but as an inside observer and participant. This is why, during the first few weeks of interning, I kept my ears and eyes open and absorbed as much information and knowledge as possible.
Consecutively, I had the opportunity to intern at the UN Collaboration department for the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development during the summer of that same year. I loved every single day of my internships at the UN, making it hard to hold the tears back when the time came to say goodbye to such great supervisors and mentors who have helped me become, personally and professionally, who I am today.
Right when I thought my experience at the international organization was over, I received an offer from the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations. I was assigned to work on disarmament topics such as weapons of mass destruction, arms trade and smuggling, drones, robots, and every other disarmament issue you can name. I didn’t think twice. I can say I’ve made one of the best decisions for the early development of my career.
September is the ‘Fashion Week’ of international diplomacy. It consists of a high-level week where world leaders meet annually to discuss topics that are relevant for development, peace and security, economy and the environment, and many others and this year was no different. 2015 marks the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations, the Agenda 2030 for the next 15 years was adopted, and His Holiness, Pope Francis addressed issues on climate change. Proudly, I was able to be part of this amazing experience.
I had the opportunity to work with the agenda of the President of Costa Rica, H.E. Luis Guillermo Solis, meet President Barack Obama, and listen to Pope Francis’ speech on climate change. I also had the chance to present statements delivered by presidents from all over the world. A few countries represented were: Estonia, Finland, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Tanzania, Namibia, Syria, Israel, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and my beloved country, Honduras.
I feel compelled to share my experience with my fellow classmates and professors who have been key participants to my success in every step of the way. Hopefully this is only the start to a journey of endless experiences, leading me to my greatest passion, to strive for a better world.
Alejandra Sandoval Taixes ’16 – Business Management and Political Science
Photo Above: President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís, and Alejandra Sandoval Taixes ’16.