Note to self. Never take a giant suitcase across London on the tubes again.
What seems like ages ago now, Monday 12th September I set off from my little Somerset village to start my Internship with GlobalGiving UK in London, and who knew it would take me nearly 5 hours.
To begin with, the journey began with half of Victoria station being barricaded off. This resulted in me having to find an alternative entrance, I followed a man who looked like he knew where he was going. Of course, the escalator was broken, so I took on the challenge and attempted to carry this massive suitcase with practically my whole life for the next few months in it down the 100000 steps. This was clearly a pathetic attempt, the man who led me into oblivion took pity on me struggling so turned back to help carry my case down.
Setting off to a glorious start, I managed the get on the correct Tube, success. Then got on a bus towards where I was staying, only to realise it was going in the complete opposite direction. Anywho, I made it, eventually. The place I’m staying is a bit of a trek into central London, but that’s the reality of house prices in London and wanting the cheapest possible option! (Thank you, Airbnb). After settling in I headed out to the shops to get some food of course, I then began to prepare for my first day of placement!
The role I am doing is Field Evaluation Programme Coordinator at GlobalGiving UK. GlobalGiving UK is a UK registered charity and is an online crowdfunding platform that is seeking to democratise aid and philanthropy. One of the programmes that is run involves training skilled volunteers to visit non-profit organisations overseas. This is the Field Evaluation Programme. The volunteers evaluate and provide practical support to the non-profits who are all partners of GlobalGiving. I am essentially coordinating the programme and volunteers currently taking part. There is also another coordinator, who I work closely with.
I began my first day at GlobalGiving UK by arriving an hour early of course, as I massively overestimated the time it would take to travel into central. The first day was very much about meeting the team and introductions. My first week was a blur of trying to remember everyone’s names, gathering various different usernames and log in details for different systems, and sussing out the best places to go for lunch. There was a monthly strategic meeting on Thursday, whereby the monthly performance is reviewed and updates and appreciations are given. I even managed to get an appreciation after only being there two days!
On Thursday I went for lunch with Eleanor, the CEO, this was an opportunity for her to gain an understanding of what I was hoping to get out of the placement, what areas I seek to improve on and the upcoming work schedule. On the Friday I attended a Crowdfunding workshop that was being run by GlobalGiving for small charities. This was very interesting and gave me a better overview of how closely GlobalGiving works with it’s partners.
If there is one thing that I have learnt from my first week, it is the realisation of the things that you can not learn from University. There are certain things that University cannot teach you as every organisation is unique. I went into the role expecting to be able to apply what I had learnt in some of the units from first and second year. This was not the case, and it really emphasised to me that as well as the theoretical knowledge you gain from lectures and seminars, there are so many other soft skills that you acquire from university.