There is an old saying that goes “all good things must come to an end”.
There is an old saying that goes “all good things must come to an end”. That was first thing that came into my mind when I stood at the doors of the British High Commission for the final time as an intern this morning.
Before working here, the perception I had of a foreign mission was the same as most people. “Oh they just issue visas and passports to citizens wishing to return or visit a particular country”. After spending six short weeks here, I can safely say that perception has most definitely changed.
The main attraction of this internship was the opportunity to spend a week in each of the departments that make up the British High Commission – Chancery, DFID, Corporate and Consular Services. I was extremely lucky this year because, unlike those before me, I was given the opportunity to interact with staff of the newly formed New Zealand High Commission. The Kiwis, as they are affectionately called, co-share the British High Commission building and their Chancery seeks to forge greater links between Wellington and the Caribbean region.
Firstly, I was posted with the Chancery team and I was very amazed at what I was exposed to. It was almost like everything I learnt at University for the past two years was playing out right in front of my eyes. While there, I assisted Richie and Annette with the setting up of the new Linked-In page and the refreshing of other social media platforms and I also assisted with the photoshoot of the FCO’s GREAT campaign with the High Commissioner. I found that very exciting because the shoot took place in places I never got a chance to visit such as the Concorde Museum.
Secondly, I was posted in the Department for International Development (DFID) and in my opinion is the best kept secret of the entire mission. While there, I worked on formulating the ground work for disability framework for Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean with Cherianne.
Also during my action packed week at DFID, I also helped Mark with critiquing the recent UN Economic Growth Report for Small Island Developing States and gave an outsider’s view and input on where focus needed to be for further cooperative opportunities with the Caribbean.
Thirdly, I was then whisked downstairs to the consular section where I thought only one thing took place. Similarly to former NBC political head Tim Russert who echoed during the 2000 election “Florida, Florida, Florida”, I thought of “Visas, Visas, Visas”. Once again I was proven wrong by Danielle and her team. While there, I was responsible for the updating of the consular log, ensuring that every advisory column was up to scratch with FCO benchmarks. These advisory columns ensure that Britons, who wish to move to the Caribbean are adequately informed on the customs and laws there.
Finally, I spent my remaining weeks in Corporate Services which is commonly known as the heart of the mission. I learnt, through my varying tasks there, that they are responsible for every aspect of the mission ranging from Estates to Payroll.
All in all, I am forever grateful to HC Dean, Gilly and the team at the British High Commission. I would definitely encourage everyone to give this programme a shot. This six week experience definitely superseded my expectations and I would cherish everything I learnt here for a very long time.