I could not have possibly asked for a better way to climax my summer holidays then to spend it with the staff at the British High Commission (BHC).
My experience as a BHC intern was truly an unforgettable one, that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Working at the BHC granted me the opportunity to experience, firsthand, the world of diplomacy. Having recently completed studies at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill majoring in Political Science and Economics, this internship gave me a practical understanding of the work of diplomats here in the region and was a great complement to the theory I would have gained while in University.
Each week, for the six weeks I interned here I worked in a different section of the Mission, namely, Corporate Services, Consular, DFID, Trade and Investment , UKTI and finally Chancery. In each section I was given tasks that taught me about the work the BHC does with respect to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. Whether it was keeping an inventory of all the medical supplies in Corporate Services, learning about biometrics and visa applications in Consular, doing research on gender based violence in the Caribbean for DFID, researching renewable energy projects for Trade and investment or hunting down past Chevening Alumni in Chancery, the work was exciting, at times challenging, but always enjoyable and insightful. It’s difficult to say which section I enjoyed most. I think each section had a unique impact on me and I enjoyed my time with each equally. My Section Heads were always friendly, attentive, and very instructive. The staff were always cordial and friendly and always willing to assist whenever I had any difficulty. My overall supervisor Gilly was very kind, warm friendly and really made my six weeks enjoyable.
Above all, I think what stood out most for me was the opportunity to meet with diplomats from the UK including the High Commissioner and the Deputy High Commissioner, all of whom shared valuable insights and gave me much needed career advice. I learned that the work of a diplomat isn’t as glamorous as I first thought it to be. Indeed, it involves long hours and the travelling, -which was the most attractive aspect of the career for me- can be quite daunting especially when you have families. But for those with a keen sense of adventure, who enjoy meeting new people and absorbing new cultures a career in the Foreign Service could be ideal for you.
I certainly think it is. So overall, I’d like to encourage anyone who is interested in diplomacy or wants to understand more about the work of the British High Commission in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean to apply for the internship next year. I have no regrets, well , perhaps the only one being that I won’t be able to do this again next year. Certainly, I think persons will find this internship rewarding and fulfilling. I will miss my time here now that it has come to an end.
I want to say thank you to the High Commissioner, Gilly and the wonderful staff here at the BHC for making my experience an unforgettable one. I promise to keep in touch and will keep you updated as my career progresses.
Thank you all.