First Day on the Job

by bojanabozic

My first day at work (May 27th) at the National Democratic Institute at DC was very exciting. The short definition in describing what NDI does is as follows: it is a nonprofit, non partisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. However, as I learned from my first day, people can use one sentence to describe NDI’s work, or they can talk to you for 3 hours. Like you, I preferred the sentence. 

Shortly after I met everyone on my team (Central and Eastern Europe regional team) including my co-interns Adam and Duncan (!!!), I was whisked off to orientation. The first of three orientation days. Here I learned how exactly people can go on for hours about their work at NDI. We met with representatives from the executives office (where the president Ken Wollak works) and functional team representatives from accounting, operations, governance, public affairs, program coordination, program administration, political parties and women’s political parties. In orientation I learned how to book a flight for a field office employee in Albania, get petty cash reimbursements, and that professional software hackers from China are NDI’s biggest security threat. <– Weird, right? 


My co-interns Adam who is on the left ( he is oddly enough my next door neighbor!) and Duncan on the right!

NDI takes up three floors in a twelve story building (floors 7-9). Advice for any future NDI interns, the best vending machines are on the 9th floor. We received a tour of the entire office. NDI moved to this building only two years prior. Afterwards I learned what country programs I was going to be working on for the duration of my 12 week internship. 

I’m assigned to the Kosovo Country Program, the Roma Political Participation Initiative, as well as the Regional Political Participation Initiative. My responsibilities will included editing monthly reports coming in from field offices, formatting quarterly, annual and final reports for our donors, writing news media updates on my specific countries, working on an independent research project (topic TBA) performing administrative duties (booking flights, helping register new offices/programs, reimbursements, setting up internal events, etc), making presentations and taking notes at our staff meetings, as well as attending outside relative lectures and presenting this new information to staff. Needless to say, I’m living the typical DC intern life.

Orientation continued the rest of the week, and afterwards I met individually with the country program officers for my assigned countries to discuss in further detail my responsibilities, as well as our CEE regional director who had a few kind words of wisdom to share 🙂 By the end of the week, I was nicely settled in my “office”. 


My desk!

I look forward to learning more about my country programs, as well as exploring lectures at other organizations in DC. This internship already is so different from my previous experiences– I look forward to developing my skills and learning more about democratic development from my superiors.