What I learned from my school trip

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This past week I was not only eating Sacher Torte and Schnitzel in Vienna. I took part in an Excursion from the university to visit some interesting non profit organizations in the austrian capital, like UNESCO, “Licht für die Welt”, OFID (OPEC) OPEC fund for international development, Fair trade Austria, OSCE – Organization for security and cooperation for Europe and FRA – Fundamental Rights Agency.

What did I like from the experience? That for the first time ever I am able to have a mental image of how could the life after the studies look like. How is it to work in an NGO, how are the offices, how are the people, how is their energy, how could I grow if I worked there are the questions answered somehow by this experience.

It showed me that most of these organizations are not only moved by the interests of capitalism as I had thought before, but that there are also really good things happening in the world and lots of people working to make them happen. For instance UNESCO has two really interesting lines of action that I didn’t know. Since a few years they realized that economics have been driving the social thought and the world in an unbalanced way, thus they find an urgent need for more philosophical thought and for that reason they’re supporting projects in this discipline. The second line of action that called my attention is called MOST, Management of Social Transformation and although we didn’t get to know more about it, now I’m interested in researching about this in depth. Before I had in mind the superficial idea that UNESCO worked for education and culture, but now I clearly understand how does it fit into the framework of the preservation of security and peace, like all the UN agencies.

Very different was the visit to OFID, the fund (can I say bank?) from the OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, most of them islamic countries and Venezuela. It was new for me to notice how big is the power of Venezuela in this group. This way I could see in my mind its influence networks and I can see now that it is indeed a powerful country. However, there you perceive the value system of this organization. I, personally, got the impression through architecture and communication, that it is moved almost solely by the power of money and that people are not really important there. I felt I don’t want to work in a place like this.

Going to the OSCE was taking a sip of the diplomatic life. We attended a small part of a meeting of the representatives from the 56 member countries. It allowed me to see living institutional arrangements and connect some learned theories with my perceptions there. At the end everything shows one more time that the United States are the real power behind all this organizations, but I still find it interesting to understand how does it exactly happen, that security and peace in continental Europe are good for the interests of uncle Sam.

Finally, the visit to the FRA was not as interesting as I expected but it was really effective for two reasons. First, while I was there I decided to write one of my semester papers about something like the history of human rights in the framework of the evolution of international relationships and the present challenges of extending this agreement to the rest of the world. Second, I got to know about the existence of a platform of 320 organizations working for human rights and now we know the way to approach this institutions.

In summary this visit made me think that I should experience working in a big institution for a while instead of staying in the entrepreneurship field for ever, but most importantly it proved me that the more I learn, the more I realize how much I still ignore.

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One response »

  1. The life of NGOs is certainly different than the entrepreneur one, and an international organization like UNESO or other will be such a rich experience for you Ana. Go discover yourself in new environments and do good for the people of this world.

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