Summer Internship at the German Development Institute - Rupal, Student Batch 15

January 27, 2021

Rupal from MESPOM Student batch 15 told us about her summer internship at The German Development Institute

I am Rupal Verma, currently a second year MESPOM student and a material science engineer by background. My interest in Environmental studies only grew when I was working for the India National Platform on Private Sustainability Standards, with the Government of India.

As a part of the MESPOM program, we are required to undertake a mandatory internship. In early March I started looking for an internship which was to begin in June. I contacted many project leaders, from different institutions and organisations where I wanted to work. It was a time-consuming process, but I received a lot of support from professors in the department and from friends I made during my previous job. I was fortunate to land on a project with The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), one of the leading think tanks for development policy. DIE was among my first choices, and after a few rounds of interviews, I was selected to work with them for my internship period.

My internship project was primarily focused on exploring how Voluntary Sustainability Standards, like Fairtrade, contribute to sustainable development. I was to conduct surveys and interview people to mine data for the project. I learnt about different data collection methods and also methods for organising data effectively. I developed crucial qualitative analysis skills and learnt a great deal about conducting formal structured interviews. Apart from that, since it was mostly based from home (thanks to Covid-19), I developed excellent time management skills and learnt how to manage my tasks super effectively. Additionally, I was blessed to have a very supportive mentor from DIE who allowed me to conduct my research. This was indeed one of the things that I appreciated a lot, and it gave me a chance to develop my own thought process for projects.

Finally, the internship was an opportunity to develop many skills, which will undoubtedly be imperative when entering the job market. Apart from that, it allowed me to be part of a super supportive network of researchers. I will be further conducting my research with my master thesis and my mentor from DIE will be my co-supervisor. Overall, this opportunity certainly allowed me to gain guidance from one of the best minds in the sector I am interested to work in.