by Tereza Zoumpalova
Organisation: Institute of Circular Economy (Institut Cirkulární Ekonomiky, z.ú.)
Length: 3 months
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Language requirement: Czech
I spent three months working as a research intern and project coordinator at the Institute of Circular Economy Institute in Prague in the summer of 2020 and two months working there as an intern in the summer of 2019.
What work did you do during your internship?
During the first summer I was mainly working on creating a curriculum and study materials for a pilot project of an environmental studies subject, and shadowing the founder of the Institute. This year I was working on market and legislative research. I helped organise two events and co-wrote two publications on circular public procurement, one with a law firm and one with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
What did you like most about the internship?
I really enjoyed working on meaningful tasks, being given a lot of trust and responsibility and the ability to say what types of projects I wanted to be part of.
What did you find most challenging during the internship?
In the beginning I had to get used to the abbreviations and jargon that was being used, to organising my own working time, and I had to find a balance between taking part in enough interesting projects to always be working on something but not taking on too much.
How did you get the internship? What is the application process/are there any requirements etc.?
When applying for the first time, the organisation did not have any open positions listed on their website so I made a speculative application by emailing them with my CV and a cover letter, after which I had a short interview. After my first summer I was offered the chance to return the following year.
What was it like to work with this organisation?
I had an amazing time at the organisation as the team was quite small, so I got to know everyone. In my second year I was even able to join them for a teambuilding trip in the mountains. Everyone was always very supportive and allowed me to take on substantial tasks which helped me develop a lot.
What did you do before the internship (e.g. were you studying, had you completed a degree, were you working etc.)?
I did my first internship at the Institute right after graduating from high school, so all my knowledge of the industry was from online courses that I did in my free time.
What did you do after the internship?
I did my first internship at the Institute during the summer before starting my undergraduate degree. After finishing my first year of university, I returned for another summer, during which I was able to play an even more active role in various projects. After this, I returned to the UK to continue with my studies.
Which learning from the internship influenced your future studies or career?
It was extremely valuable to learn about the different career routes in sustainability in both the public and the private sector, and to see that there are many opportunities within smaller countries like the Czech Republic too. I also noticed that legislative, economic and regulatory barriers often prevent change from happening, which is why I am now considering continuing my studies with a master’s degree in environmental policy.
Author bio: Tereza is a third year student of Land Economy (Environment, Law, Economics) at the University of Cambridge. Her main interests lie in economic and environmental sustainability and development, and she hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy. In her free time, she enjoys reading, sports (anything from squash to yoga), studying languages and exploring different cultures.