Aya Elshakshuki (April - June
2011), from Libya
Christopher Kwan (May - July 2011), from Hong Kong, SAR of China
It was great interning at GAA for the past three months. It was a nice bridge between graduate school and full-time employment. I definitely gained valuable experience and learned about a policy area in which I knew relatively little. Susanne and Michelle were supportive and a delight to work with.
Rebecca Richman (August - December 2010), from the US
My internship at GAA was an experience that enhanced my understanding of how NGO’s work at the UN and also about older persons’ human rights. It was a great experience to contribute to GAA’s widely read website and know that professionals and individuals all over the world read them. Because I am interested specifically in older women’s human rights, it was an especially enriching to be part of the process leading to the passage of the CEDAW Recommendation on Older Women’s Human Rights that took place during my time at GAA.
Núria Ferragutcasas (May - December 2010), from Spain
Being an intern at Global Action on Aging is a unique experience in my life. I am so glad that I worked with such a young and energetic team on global aging issues. At GAA, I learned how to view the aging problems from historical and political perspectives. GAA also offered me the invaluable opportunities to exchange thoughts about my future career plan with other interns and UN personnel.
Faisal Sukkar (September - December 2010), from Saudi Arabia
Interning at Global Action on Aging
enlightened me on a topic that is often overlooked in our world today.
Growing up in the Middle East, strong family values protected almost
all the elderly from growing old alone; but what about those who
weren't lucky enough to enjoy that privilege? Global Action on Aging
gave us the tools and the environment to research these issues to
better understand different cultures and their view of older persons.
All this gives us a better idea as to how to better help older
Ji Yuan (August - December 2010), from China
Being an intern at Global Action on Aging was a unique experience in my life. I am so glad that I worked with such a young and energetic team on global aging issues. At GAA, I learned how to view the aging problems from both an historical and political perspective. GAA also offered me invaluable opportunities to exchange thoughts about my future career plans with other interns, staff and UN personnel.
Anna Viver (June - September 2010), from Russia
Global Action on Aging offered me a great experience and an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. During my internship I acquired the critical and constructive view at governments and societies’ attitude towards rights and needs of elder people, ability to look at the world and life from the prospective of elder persons, and self-confidence. In addition I had a chance to work on developing my writing and technical skills.
I leave this job with great appreciation of the working environment at GAA and especially people and tasks that create this environment: daily communication with Susanne Paul and interns, helpful and friendly attitude, open discussions on a variety of global issues and every day learning experience. I would like to especially emphasize understanding and respect that staff and interns express to each other.
This internship works with interns’ individualities: their interests, needs and skills. I believe this is the main reason why interns find it exciting and helpful experience. Working at GAA develops analytical skills, contributes to a more profound understanding of a critical need for social justice. Therefore, it is also a challenging experience, but I believe that challenge is what makes a personality grow.
Ghadeer Hasan (May - August 2010), from Palestine
I had a wonderful experience interning at GAA. Although my initial knowledge about aging was very limited, this internship opened my eyes to issues surrounding older persons that have become very important to me. I enjoyed getting to know the other interns and working within the very diverse atmosphere of the United Nations. I want to thank Susanne for being very supportive and engaging throughout my experience at GAA and am very grateful to her for everything that I learned.
Chu Zhang (May - August 2010), from China
Working in GAA is exceptional experience for me in terms of professional career building and personal development. I enjoyed working on the very topic and felt grateful for what GAA has taught me: dedication, professionalism, wisdom, empathy, and perseverance.
Anastasia Maleshev (February-May 2010), from Russia
I started working with Global Action on Aging as the Russian Intern in February 2010 – one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am very thankful for this wonderful opportunity of working for such an amazing organization. When I first started at GAA, the team was very welcoming and open. The relaxing atmosphere in the office has made my work enjoyable and fulfilling. I am proud to be a part of GAA and am glad that there is an organization out there that is fighting for the rights of our elderly. I especially thank Magali and Susanne for giving me a chance to grow as a person while working with Global Action on Aging. To me this experience is priceless and I will always keep GAA in my heart.
Fabianne Blake (February-May 2010), from Trinidad and Tobago
Older people are not always identified as a valuable, but vulnerable, population. I have gained some knowledge at GAA that I hope makes me more sensitive to the issues that affect older people. This is important for me personally as I will have to care for my parents and aunts and uncles in the future and will likely care for older persons professionally. Older people are part of the society; their well- being and development are an integral part of a society’s development.
Vivian Rodriguez (January-May 2010), from Cuba
Being an intern at GAA was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to learn not only from staff but also from my fellow interns. I found this enlightening and incredibly rewarding. Being immersed in the UN community served gave me a first-hand view of how issues are handled and dealt with on a global stage. I will undoubtedly take the skills I have gained and apply them in my future endeavors.
Isabella Dueñas (December 2009-April 2010) from Ecuador
I had a great time working at GAA! It was my
first time working with rights of older persons and I must admit that
it was a very eye-opening and rewarding experience. As part of my job,
I was in charge of researching aging issues for the Spanish section of
the website and it was a wonderful surprise to find out that many Latin
American countries are doing an amazing job in protecting and helping
their older population.
Cindy Le Helley (September
2009-April 2010), from France
I’ve spent eight amazing months at GAA,
thanks to the opportunity that Susanne and Magali gave me.
I had a wonderful experience at GAA! It was
my first experience with the UN; it will help me further my career,
especially, if I pursue the path of diplomacy.
(July-December 2009), from Cape Verde
My internship experience at
GAA has been superb. I came to GAA not knowing much about aging or the
work of NGOs, but today I am leaving as a much more knowledgeable
person, not just on the work that I do but of the world in
Veronica Lewis (September – December 2009), from the US and Iran
When I was a
child, I used to love when my grandparents would come from Iran to
visit us. I knew that they would serenade us with stories and much
laughter. There is a saying in Farsi that translates, “I’ve ripped more
shirts than you,” which means that those with more life experiences
possess more wisdom. In turn, the culture has taught us from a young
age to respect our elders and the older the person, the more respect. I
brought this background to my work at Global Action on Aging, where my
respect and advocacy for older persons only grew.
What I like the best about my work is that there is meaning behind it. I feel that every task we conduct carries meaning, even if it’s not apparent. Our intern work contributes to GAA’s mission. We are advocating for older people worldwide—which I value the most among our efforts. I have learned much at GAA and know that I will carry these lessons with me long after my internship has ended. These lessons will continue to influence new endeavors and future relationships with older persons.
Working at Global Action on Aging has
rewarded me with an extraordinary experience. Three months I spent here
went by too fast.
Ludivine Gendre (Summer 2009), from France
“Time flies when you’re having fun,” that is
what I have been told and I guess I had a lot of fun here!
Cyrus Jalai (Summer 2009), from Canada and the US
GAA isn’t so much an NGO, but a real family. And as clichéd as this sounds, it’s true. I met so many interesting and diverse people, each making me more interesting in their cultures and in the way that they live their lives. That’s a truly unique experience brought to me by GAA, so thank you.
To be frank, working with GAA has been an
honor. All of the interns here really make the time fly. I’ve learned
immeasurably from the first day that I arrived here, right up to my
last day. I was happy to have been entrusted and given so much
responsibility from an organization like GAA – I’m very thankful they
put their trust and confidence in me!
Lucie Perrier (Summer 2009), from France
My internship at GAA has gone very quickly and
it was a great experience. It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot
about aging issues and computer skills throughout these weeks. It
helped me improve my English a great deal, hone my translation
abilities but especially to practice my research skills. It gave me a
global idea of what the UN is, how it collaborates with NGOs and how
useful this collaboration is to promote peace throughout the
Yini Qiu (Summer 2009), from
I came to NYC because of the GAA internship
position. As I leave, I have fulfillment in my heart because things
happened here that were so unexpected.
Jacqueline Foelster (January-August 2009), USA
Interning at Global Action on Aging has
allowed me to define what an exemplary working experience is. Not only
is it a portal for interns to learn about the aging field, it is also a
gateway to observe the United Nations in action as GAA is one of the
few aging organizations to propel the creation of a Convention to
Protect the Rights of Older Persons.
Emily Wargo (June-August, 2009), from the US
My time at GAA has been a truly enriching and
rewarding experience. From my first day in the office I felt that my
work was wholly appreciated by all of the employees. The camaraderie of
the office staff truly makes progress on the topic of older persons’
rights possible. Everyone works together effectively and seamlessly but
in a very powerful and influential way. I was extremely impressed and
satisfied with the work environment at GAA and the productivity which
Ye Wang (May-July 2009), from China
It was like yesterday when I first came into the GAA office. How time flies! During these two and a half months, I worked with interns from all over the world who spoke many languages and had such interesting backgrounds. I think I will benefit from this unique experience for a very, very long time. Most importantly, the GAA internship gave me a great opportunity to do intensive research on an important topic—aging. I came into the office knowing nothing about aging. Now I am nearly an expert, not only Chinese aging policies but also on aging issues across the globe. I am even thinking about pursuing a doctoral degree on aging. Life is really like a box a chocolate. You never know what is waiting for us to taste. I appreciate Susanne and Magali’s patience and guidance. I treasure the great time I have had with my friends who speak French, Spanish, Arabic, English, and Chinese! I am coming back someday. Until then, I will be missing all of you!
It was a pleasure to work at GAA and meet this
great team. I learned so many things about the rights of older persons
and the work of NGOs at the UN.
Lacroix (February-June 2009), from France
During this Internship, I met a lot of nice,
interesting and lovely people from all over the world. I made a lot of
new friends and I already miss them. I learned many things about
different cultures and countries, and lunch breaks were always marked
by a roar of laughter. It is a gift I will never forget.
Marya Hannun (April-June 2009), from the US and Lebanon
My internship with GAA was an incredible and rewarding experience! The people in the office were so friendly and knowledgeable, and there is truly a sense of teamwork and commitment. I learned so much about aging and the status of older people, not only in the Middle East, but all around the world. Participating in the seminars and talking to older people about the problems they face, made me more aware of the issues plaguing older people everyday. It was wonderful to be part of an environment that is serious and dedicated but at the same time, a really fun place to be. By maintaining a sense of warmth and friendliness, GAA really emphasizes the human aspect of human rights, and that is something I will take with me into all of my future endeavors.
Natalia Rojas (Winter-Spring 2009), from the US
Action on Aging is an excellent organization for anyone looking for a
challenge and who wants to contribute to a meaningful and productive
organization. From day one, I was deeply engaged and involved in
research and projects that bring important information to people who
are fighting everyday to protect the rights and improve all aspects of
lives for older persons. My tasks were substantive and I felt that my
contributions were deeply appreciated.
Weijia Liu (Winter 2009), from China
A truly unique experience at GAA!!!
Three months went short and fast, but were
filled with laughter and love.
THANK YOU all, GAA team, let's keep in touch !!!
Hager Youssef (Fall 2008 - Winter 2009) from the US and Egypt
My experience at GAA was educational,
challenging and rewarding. I learned so much about the rights of older
persons and the UN structure. The GAA office, directly across the UN,
was at an inspirational location. I interacted with other NGOs and
discussed the various peace projects they undertook.
Menghan Shen, (Winter 2009), from China
Working at GAA during my college’s Christmas/New Year holiday was a rewarding opportunity. I learned a lot from working at NGO. Susanne inspired me to think about aging issues from a different perspective. Magali influenced me with her organized and detail-oriented working style. Further, I had the chance to read extensively on issues I care about. In addition, I had fun meeting my co-interns, Crystal, Maria and Jerry. I lived a healthy life style and enjoyed New York City to the fullest extent.
Maria C. Rhor, (Fall 2008), from the US and Ecuador
My internship with GAA was everything I had hoped it would be and even more! From my first day until the last I felt the office was my second home. I got to meet and work with some wonderful people that made my experience truly rewarding. During my internship with GAA I was responsible for conducting research and summarizing reports and news articles written in Spanish about aging issues in Spanish-speaking countries. I enjoyed and was challenged and excited to translate GAA letters and materials coming and going from Latin American diplomats and aging organizations. Towards the end of my internship, I was in charge of creating the front page for the GAA website. To know that I was part of a team that updated this widely-read website each week was very gratifying. Being part of an NGO and working at the United Nations was more than I could have imagined. A special thanks to Susanne and Magali for their hard work, patience, support, and for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
Stuart Wilson, (Fall 2008), from the United Kingdom
My four months at Global Action on Aging was a very positive experience. When you arrive in the office overlooking the United Nations Headquarters and the east river in Manhattan, there is a friendly and cooperative atmosphere as well as the sense that you are close to the world’s largest peace promoting institution. The work is challenging and involves a steep learning curve about the process of publishing two newsletters and an updated website every week. I appreciated the responsibility of issuing the newsletter every Friday as well as the chance to research articles on the issues facing older people in many countries around the world. The opportunity to see how an NGO works with other NGOs and interacts with the UN was a unique experience. Most of all I enjoyed working with the people at GAA and I would like to thank Sophie from Germany, Sara from the US, Maria from Ecuador, Natalie from France, Jerry from China and Hager from Egypt for the laughter and learning. Finally a special thanks to Susanne and Magali for giving me this opportunity.
Thomas Howie, (Summer 2008), from the United Kingdom
My time at GAA was a truly rewarding one. There are many aspects to the job at GAA. One example was my special task, which was to organize a seminar on a UN action plan known as the Madrid Internal Plan of Action on Aging (MIPAA). I was handed full responsibility for organizing the content and worked with the team of interns to deliver the seminar to a group of 20 or more retirees from New York City. At first I was a little daunted by the task. However, the people I worked with at GAA were fantastic at supporting and advising me. Everyone wanted to do a good job. That is the best thing about GAA. Everyone there is really committed to doing both their job and teaching interns, like me, new skills. I have gained new skills, experience and most importantly the confidence to succeed.
Being part of the GAA team has been a truly amazing experience. Although I was an off site intern, I had constant support from GAA and there was always someone with whom I could correspond when I needed help and advice. GAA is doing a great work in promoting the cause of the elderly worldwide and I am really glad I could contribute to their worthy cause!
Rassil Ghazzaoui, (July 2008), from Lebanon
In a few words, I had the time of my life! To begin with, when I was not working in GAA I was out in THE City enjoying its sights, strolling down the avenues and gazing at its breathtaking lights. Returning to my life in the office, I must say that the team members in GAA made my stay so much fun and so enriching. The things I learned in my short stay were more than I might have expected to learn in a significantly longer period in a different place.
Like the rest of the interns, I improved my computer skills, communication skills, writing capacities and of course research techniques. As GAA was the first working experience in my life, I thoroughly enjoyed the responsibilities, the time management, the organization of tasks and most of all the discipline that a work life entails.
In addition, the fact that we were so close to the UN (especially the office view) and its workings, and had the use of a personal pass to enter the UN headquarters for conferences etc, had a big impact on me. To have an inside peek at one of the world’s largest organizations and knowing the various issues the nations of the world are currently facing, was overwhelming, but at the same time very informative, both for my knowledge and my future.
Now, I fondly remember Global Action on Aging as my first step in real life and as a basis for future academic achievements.
Thank you, Merci and Shoukran to all the interns and to Susanne and Magali for this wonderful opportunity.
Arion Blas, (Summer 2008), from the Philippines
"My most memorable experience with GAA was listening in during the roundtable discussion on long term care with Senator Capri Cafaro of Ohio. In those three hours, I learned how conflicting parties negotiate and lobby for their interest. It was also the day when all the GAA interns enjoyed cookies and brownies over coffee and cola in the office.
My seven weeks of internship has been characterized by intense learning. I was exposed to a myriad of ageing issues that affect everyone, not only the elderly. From horrific reports of abuse to heart warming stories of everyday people, each article I read and posted helped me understand the enormity of the challenge we are facing today.
Yet amidst all the work, I have found great friends in the other interns and the staff. Our lunch breaks became a time to relax as we enjoyed French fries, brownies and ice cream. Meeting diplomats and people from the UN was truly amazing - their humility was inspiring. Perhaps it was in these little moments that made joining GAA truly worth my while. I am really thankful to Susanne and Magali for giving me this opportunity."
Tina Malguth, (March-July 2008), from Germany
"I still remember my first day with GAA, now 5 months ago. It is crazy how fast the time flew – a good sign that I enjoyed my stay here in New York very much. I met a lot of nice, interesting and lovely people from all over the world. I made a lot of new friends in the City never sleeps and I already miss them. That opportunity to learn many things about different cultures and countries is a gift I will never forget. During my work with GAA, I got different insights into the work of an international non-governmental organization. I did a lot of research; I improved my computer skills a lot; we organized seminars and went to UN conferences. I visited different Country Missions, wrote articles, did statistics and analyses. I got insight into fundraising programs, and I visited nursing homes. I also gained insight into the work of the United Nations. Now I can understand the system of the highest world body much more. I thank all Interns who made this internship unforgettable and, of course Magali and Susanne, who gave me the opportunity to work with GAA and placed high confidence in me!"
Lau (Spring 2008), from California, US
"As a student, GAA has allowed me to obtain a more in-depth perspective of the UN, the lesser known governing body of the world. The availability of the UN also opens up so many doors. It’s a dream come true for any student to be able to sit next to professors and delegates from different countries to hear about pressing issues such as the crisis on Myanmar and the current food crisis. The UN is a ready source of information.
As a person, I have been privileged to meet the most diverse and down-to-earth group of people at GAA and the UN. The people who work here are average citizens who care. It’s refreshing to see that these individuals all want to make a difference in the world, no matter how big or small. It’s good to know that deep down inside, their intentions are pure."
Clara Dufresne (September 2007- May 2008), from France
"Who would think of an internship where you get to fix the printer, water the plants, dig deep into complicated and interesting research about current international issues like pension and organize a diplomatic reception at the same time?
GAA, a small and active organization, relies on interns to accomplish all of that. Managed by both the president and the program coordinator, interns have a lot to do to build GAA’s office life.
My nine months in Global Action on Aging have been an interesting experience, in a very nice environment. I learned a lot about computer skills and the United Nations system and how the different agencies work together. This internship was also a good opportunity for me to think about my career plans and the possibilities of working for an international organization or a Non Governmental Organization.
I thank all my colleagues on site (Eddie-Julie-Elena-Vivian-Newell-Tina and of course both Magali and Susanne) for their patience, smile and hard work. You have made this experience unforgettable!"
Van Anh Nguyen (Winter 2008), from Vietnam
"Even though a three-month period is not a long time, my internship with GAA certainly forms a significant part in my life experience. I’ve long been eager to pursue a career in the field of international health, however this internship is the first time I got involved in research and learned about the real situation. Working for GAA helped me improving my independent research skills considerably. All the knowledge I gained invigorates my determination to work towards a better and healthier life for everyone. It was a pity that I could not work in the GAA office and interact with GAA staff and other interns, as well as attend several events. Nonetheless, I could feel the atmosphere from thousands of kilometers away, thanks to the supportiveness and helpfulness of everyone at GAA, especially Susanne Paul and Magali Girod. So, once again, thank you GAA for giving me this marvelous experience, and thank you Susanne and Magali for being so encouraging and enthusiastic toward me."
Hanna Blyumina (September - December 2004), from Ukraine
"I can honestly admit that the experience at GAA happened to be one of the turning points in my life. The inspiration that I got while working here coursed lot's of great changes in my life and attitude. The fact that after coming back to Ukraine I continued to deal with aging issues is the best manifestation of that. The internship at GAA and great people that I had pleasure to meet in UN during this time gave me the chance to work for UNFPA in Ukraine doing a very important work for my country. The feeling of doing something important is another thing that I will ever be thankful for to GAA.
Every one who was lucky to work at GAA enjoyed the special atmosphere of this office. This atmosphere is created and kept through years by our highly respected and beloved president, Susanne Paul. She adores every single intern helping to realize all his or her talents. Along with knowledge about aging issues, people master their English here, gain computer skills, learn to talk to VIPs, make presentations, visit a lot of UN events , and many more exiting things!
I highly recommend to good people to join this wonderful team and probably you will not be able to say good bye to them like me who is being over the Ocean still in touch and sending articles to GAA website."
Naomi Osawa (July - November 2004), from Japan
"Interning at GAA has been one of the best experiences in my life. In addition to learning about aging issues, I could familize myself with other crucial international problems by attending a number of international conferences, such as poverty, women's rights, nuclear proliferation, and many more. Once I achieve my Bachelor's degree in Political Science, I am planning to pursue my career as either international lawyer or human rights advocate."
internship at GAA proved an unparalleled learning experience! There is
much to be done at Global Aging and Susanne does a great job of
tailoring the internship to suit everyone's interests. For me the
best parts were the conferences I attended, the projects I worked
on as a part of the GAA team and the surprises that each day
brought. I wish I could do it all over!"
2004), from France
"My nine-month internship at GAA was a wonderful experience from start to finish. I learned a lot about aging issues and computer skills throughout my stay. It helped me a great deal improve my communication skills especially talking in front of a crowd. I had a lot of responsibilities and I was able to take initiatives and implement my ideas to improve the Website. It gave me a good sense of what the UN is, how it collaborates with the NGO community and how useful this collaboration is to help the international community move forward.
GAA also helped me with my career plan by showing me many existing opportunities in the US and also in other parts of the world. Thanks to my internship in New York, I met wonderful people from different origins and made friends for life."
"My internship experience at GAA not only allowed me the opportunity to become acquainted with some of the most cultured, interesting and dedicated individuals I've ever met, but also gave me practical skills that ended up being invaluable at my subsequent jobs and now in law school. I can't think of another position in which I could have met such great people, learned so much about international and human rights law, and became familiar with the workings of one of the most relevant organizations today, the U.N., all while feeling like I was personally contributing to the improvement of conditions for elderly around the world."
"If you are
interested to learn about global aging population and
their concerns, if you care for those caught in conflicts or
affected by political regimes, if you have a lot of ideas and seek
motivation and support - GAA is the best place for you to make a
I'm Andriy Bega, former GAA intern. I am currently working at the International Centre for Policy Studies in Kyiv, Ukraine. GAA helped me a lot to know more about the social system in the US, as well as around the world. Another great thing about GAA was the chance to look at the work of the UN from the inside and meet various interesting people.
"After I've completed my Ph D degree, I participated the UN 2nd World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid in 2002 where I met Susanne Paul. I started my internship at GAA in summer of 2002, it was very precious experience to explore the problems of global ageing. Since then, Susanne has been my best mentor, who encourages me and inspires me a lot."
Mylène Barra (September 2001-2002), from France
"I came to New York on September 24, 2001, 13 days after "September 11th", the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center. For my family, I was crazy. For New-Yorkers, I was brave. That's how my nine-month experience at Global Action on Aging started. I was a twenty-year girl working to help older persons because " I will get old some day" as I told them when they asked me why. This experience showed me the reality of the situation of older persons. They need to be helped like other persons with difficulties such as persons with disabilities.
When I got back to France, I graduated and got a diploma of International Action and Solidarity. Today, I know that I want to work to help the one who need it and to defend their rights.
I worked for
ten months for the French NGO Handicap International with their
advocacy officer on their campaign to ban landmines and their new
campaign on cluster munitions.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org"
"Interning at GAA for a six-month period really gave me a valuable insight into the NGO community and UN environment. Susanne Paul was of great support and made this internship a thrilling and unforgettable experience!
Hope you'll enjoy
your experience at GAA as much as I did..."
Experience with UN, Aging Issues (August 12, 2005)
For more on the interns as
well as GAA's goals and mission as a Non-Governmental Organization in
New York, refer to the article.