Emma’s internship at UN-HABITAT / Part 1

Emma-Liisa Hannula is completing her four months internship at the UN-HABITAT in Nairobi, Kenya. She will tell about her experiences in SGT blog during the spring term! This is her first letter from Kenya!

I am studying architecture, urban design and urban planning at Aalto University. I started an internship within UN-HABITAT Disaster and Post-conflict section DPCS in the beginning of February at the UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. I have been interested in the work of UN-HABITAT for a long time and I am highly motivated in working on an international level preferably with crises-related issues in the future.

I am doing my Master´s thesis about post-disaster urban planning and my main assignment during the internship is to prepare a draft for post-crisis principles and operational timeline for planning after crises for leaders and for practitioners. I am very pleased about the assignment while it supports well my Master´s thesis. During the internship I have access to important literature sources for my thesis and a possibility to interview lots of people working with crises management on different levels and in different parts of the world.

There are currently seven people working at my office. All the team members have very different academic backgrounds and work mostly independently. The issues that we are working with are highly inter-disciplinary and require knowledge from different fields relating to crises. The work assignments are very different from architectural /planning office assignments and include a lot of research and writing. I find it positively challenging to use the knowledge I have gained during my education in an environment where most of the people do not have the same academic background.

I will be working at UN-HABITAT for four months until the end of May and will be blogging once in a while. Generally my life in Nairobi has started well. I found a pleasant place to live and nice hobbies such as yoga and Pilates. Life seems good here however a little restricted while you due to security issues have to take taxi everywhere after dark and can´t move freely around the city by foot. Sadly locals are hard to get to know while most of the people working at UN are foreigners. On the other hand the atmosphere at UN is very international and you meet a lot of people from all over the world.

Emma-Liisa Hannula