Bita Jalalian '25

IIP Newsletter Spotlight

Major: Public and International Affairs
Internship site: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Tunis, Tunisia
Tell us a little about your IIP, any fun projects you are engaging with, and what has been rewarding?
My International Internship Program (IIP) with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Tunisia has been an immensely rewarding and transformative experience. Collaborating with dedicated individuals, I have delved into the realms of democracy, peace negotiations, and constitution building while enhancing my research abilities. Currently working as a part of their Yemen team, I am actively working towards resolving conflicts on the ground and exploring innovative approaches to regional conflict resolution. The warm welcome and acceptance I have received from both the team and Tunisian people has been extraordinary. During my time in the country, I have met many incredible Tunisian friends who graciously invited me to a Tunisian wedding where I had the honor of being dressed in traditional Tunisian clothing (as seen in my attached photo). Thus, this all-encompassing journey has truly shaped my career goals, expanded my skill sets, and, notably, enriched my cultural knowledge, leaving me with cherished memories that will endure a lifetime.
Do you have tips for future interns?
I strongly urge future interns to embrace a proactive approach during their time with IDEA. The depth of my involvement and integration within the team stems from my adeptness at navigating collaborative dynamics and fostering effective communication throughout the office. By engaging in insightful discussions with numerous team members, I have been able to seamlessly transition from assisting with email translations, conducting research on trust funds for future interns, and ultimately joining the esteemed Yemen team. Thus, I urge interns to remain adaptable and proactively seek opportunities to contribute by directly engaging with IDEA members. Additionally, I emphasize the importance of inquiring not only within the workplace but also within the broader Tunisian community. This provides an invaluable chance to forge connections, immerse oneself in the culture, and gain insightful travel advice from those more intimately familiar with the country.
A unique hobby: Throughout my time in Tunisia, I have continued my beloved hobby of journaling! The stunning La Marsa beach near me has become my go-to spot to do so where I can reflect on my trip and embrace any new experiences I have made. This is my favorite peaceful moment during the day where I get to truly sit with myself and commemorate all my newfound memories. For all you fellow travelers, I highly recommend documenting your own adventures through journaling – it's a priceless keepsake to cherish!
IIP Summer Playlist Song: Etilili Gafsi Bari Fout