In Her Own Words: Mara Tissera Luna at UNICEF Kazakhstan

August 8, 2016

Mara Tissera Luna, Argentina
MPA student,
Class of 2017

Intern, UNICEF Kazakhstan

I am doing a two-month internship at UNICEF Kazakhstan, an opportunity that was facilitated by SPP Career Services. I am responsible for documenting the country's youth suicide prevention program and creating a communication package. I work closely with Galymzhan, who is both my assistant and my translator.

UNICEF plans to use the package of materials I am working on in other countries where suicide prevention programs are non-existent and much needed. I'm very happy with my internship experience for several reasons. First, it has enabled me to apply my intellectual and practical skills to help address a serious public policy issue: youth suicide. In addition, I've learned a lot about how a UN office operates. Working at UNICEF has also given me a chance to do field research both in the capital and in the country, where I have conducted focus groups with children, their parents, and school staff.

Galymzhan (Mara's assistant), a girl from the focus group, and Mara.

I have really enjoyed living in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital city. It is very modern and beautiful. The people are super friendly and hospitable. In my free time I get together with the several Kazakh friends I have made, and do sports in one of the numerous city parks.

This internship experience has taught me to be more open to extremely new and unfamiliar cultures. Before arriving in Kazakhstan I was very afraid of what it would be like to live and work in a country that was so unknown to me and where I don't speak the language. I am happy to report that this has turned out to be one of my best working experiences (and summers) ever! My advice to future students: don't be afraid to do your internship in an "exotic" and unfamiliar country.

I'm very grateful to CEU for providing me with this experience, which will have a hugely positive impact both on my personal life and my career in the field of children's rights. I hope very much that my work at UNICEF Kazakhstan this summer contributes to making the life of Kazakh's children at least a little bit happier.

Read more student internship profiles here.