28 March 2024

Alexandra Bukhareva, a 2023 graduate of the International Relations and Development BA Honours course, was successfully selected into the 2023 IOM internship programme and embarked on a “life changing” 9-month-long internship with IOM Somalia, at their support office in Nairobi, Kenya.

Thanks to a 2022 agreement between the University of Westminster and the IOM, Westminster students can apply for exclusive internship opportunities at IOM offices around the world.
Upon successful completion of her internship in February 2024, Alexandra has been offered a full-time consultancy position at IOM.

Reflecting on her internship experience, Alexandra said: “Along with amazing professional experience, valuable skills and important insights from the working field, this experience proved to be an incredible start to my professional career. The diversity of tasks I was working on gave me a full experience of all the projects and all the structures within the mission, and the supportive team I worked with during these 9 months made my transition from academic to professional environment very smooth. This internship was a great opportunity to get to know the chosen industry, meet and work with people who know the UN system from the inside out and gain skills that you cannot get elsewhere. Through this 9-months internship I learned way more than I had expected. IOM treats their interns as staff members, which is why I was assigned many responsibilities and opportunities to learn and grow.”

Commenting on her transition into a consulting role at IOM, she said: “My internship was a life-changing experience. Upon its completion being offered the position of a Programme Support Consultant for Emergency and Post-Crisis (EPC) Pillar with IOM Somalia (in Nairobi) made me realise that all of my hard work is being recognised. In this new position I will pursue the programme support role, focusing on emergency projects in response to factors causing human displacement in Somalia. This transition makes me truly feel my professional growth through this internship programme.”

In the 2023 round of the programme, nine Westminster students were selected as interns to IOM offices in Europe, Asia and Africa and were stationed in exciting locations such as Switzerland, Mozambique, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Bangladesh. Two more Westminster students were stationed at IOM’s London office.

Alexandra further remarks that “being based in such a beautiful and diverse country definitely played a huge role in my overall experience. Kenya is an amazing country with beautiful nature and wonderful people.”

Addressing her fellow Westminster graduates and current students, Alexandra said: “Try to take the maximum of any opportunity you are presented with, as one little step can completely change your life.”

Currently the selection process is underway for the 2024 IOM internship round, in which Westminster students can apply for 15 valuable and exclusive internship positions across IOM offices in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. The selected interns will contribute to the greater IOM agenda to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need. The programme is funded by resources dedicated to outward mobility opportunities, including generous funds from Westminster alumnus Trevor Yang, the Quintin Hogg Trust and the Global Experience Bursary.

The partnership with the IOM directly contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4: Quality Education, 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and 17: Partnerships for Goals. Since 2019, the University of Westminster has used the SDGs holistically to frame strategic decisions to help students and colleagues fulfil their potential and contribute to a more sustainable, equitable and healthier society.

Learn more about and apply for United Nations internships through the University of Westminster.