Perspectives on Working at the IFA

In 2017, the IFA was pleased to welcome Clara Castoldi, a third-year student of the Institute of Political Studies in Aix-en-Provence, France, as an intern. 

Clara had kindly agreed to provide an inside look at her experiences working with the IFA.

For 5 months I have been working at the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) as an intern. I am currently studying International Relations, History, and Political Science in France, and applied for this internship hoping to develop the skills needed to become an NGO advocate.

My internship is coming to an end, and I am glad I lived this experience. It was my first time in a professional environment, which was very challenging, especially as English is not my first language. I learned a lot about working in an international NGO and about the fight for the rights and health of older persons. There has been a shift in my perception of older adults, because I became much more aware of their contribution to society. I also gained knowledge on the way organizations interact, especially between the IFA and the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

My work at the IFA has mostly been to assist the staff with specific tasks. I particularly enjoyed writing articles for the Blog and the VoltAge newsletter, both in English and French, and leading on the IFA Twitter account which includes that on adult vaccination. The skills I acquired will be great assets in the pursuit of my studies and career.

Moreover, I loved working with everybody at the IFA. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by hard-working and interesting people, who I will miss. Discovering Toronto and North America has also been a great experience; living in such a dynamic city was very exciting.

This internship was an amazing opportunity for me to have an insight of the work of an international NGO, and it opened my mind to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population. I am now heading to Mexico where I will be studying international relations, conflict resolution, and history of Latin America. After this enriching year I will be returning to France to finish my studies and work towards a career in a human rights-related NGO.