Federica Dispenza is from Italy and her assignment as a UNV has taken her to Kyrgyzstan to work in the area of Co-ordination. She fills us in on her UNV assignment as she battles the clock to answer 10 questions.
1. Where in the world have you travelled?
France, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Tunisia, South Africa, Lesotho, USA.
2. Where did you grow up?
3. What did you study in university?
BA in Economics of International Markets and New Technologies, MSc in Economics and Social Sciences, MSc in Development Management
4. What are the best and worst jobs you have had?
Worst job – Shop Assistant in London, some people were just plainly rude for no reason at all. Best job: Researcher for a think tank. I liked the job and had the most wonderful boss ever! Can I include best volunteering experience ever? It was in South Africa teaching art to orphan kids in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The children were absolutely wonderful.
5. Why did you apply for the UNV programme?
I wanted to see the magical UN world from inside. And I was looking for more experience in the field.
6. Describe a day in your life as a UNV.
Let’s see. Wake up around 7.30am, struggle to decide what to wear, get ready, go to buy breakfast because there’s no way I can have breakfast right after waking up, and then walk to the UN House (mercifully round the corner). In the morning I do my research work (currently working on some indicators for the Early Recovery team). I normally have lunch with my colleagues or with Giulio, the UNV assigned to OHCHR, in a café or in the kitchen downstairs. This is unless I am behind with my Russian homework: in that case I eat alone while studying. In the afternoon I work on the UN website or other communication-related task (newsletter, meetings of the communication group, chasing people to squeeze information out of them and so on…), or my beloved HIV theme group.
I am supposed to finish at 6pm but really this happens only on Mondays and Wednesdays when I have Russian classes at 6.30pm. On week nights I am normally busy with the cooking and studying, but on weekends it is time to go out with my colleagues or with other international UNVs in Bishkek. They’re doing their best to show me and Giulio what Bishkek can offer when it comes to nightlife!
7. What is the best part of your UNV assignment?
Working in the Resident Coordinator Unit I get to know everything that happens in the UN House and what the other Agencies are doing.
8. What is the least favourite part of your UNV assignment?
Re-designing for the Nth time the website contents because somebody had a brilliant idea at 6.27pm!
9. Has your UNV assignment reached/not reached your expectations?
It might be early days to say so but I am satisfied with what I am doing here. The work environment is excellent and I like the job most of the time.
10. Would you recommend the UNV programme to other people and why?
Absolutely yes! It is a great opportunity to travel, get new experience and see what is inside the UN box. If people want to work for an international organization this is probably one of the best ways to test their commitment. And getting to know a new culture and new people opens one’s mind.