Craig DeFrancisco, BSILR '12
ILO, International Institute for Labour Studies
In the fall of 2010 I participated in the ILR School’s Credit Internship Program in Geneva, Switzerland, as an intern at the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) International Institute for Labour Studies. The Institute promotes knowledge sharing, public debate, and research on issues relevant to the ILO and its government, business, and labor constituents. The Institute accomplishes these objectives through research, workshops, seminars, internships, and publications.
On my first day at work I began to contribute to articles and briefs for the Institute’s flagship publication, The World of Work Report 2010, compiling and analyzing poverty and inequality data in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and other emerging economies, and studying the effectiveness of government stimulus packages in improving labor market outcomes in various regions of the world since the current economic recession began. I also contributed to a separate case-study on Indonesia and Brazil’s stimulus measures. The mandatory work hours were 9:30 – 4:30, with the possibility of a 2-hour lunch break, but I found myself often getting to the office at 8:30 and leaving at 5:30, as the number of projects my supervisors presented to me multiplied weekly. My responsibilities for the department were to research recent trends related to the ongoing global financial and economic crisis, contribute written material for inclusion in reports, working papers, and publications, and provide editing support for the finalization of publications. My supervisors and the general staff were very helpful in aiding my adjustment to the working norms of the office and gave constructive feedback on a regular basis. The Institute is known for making interns engage in “real” office work that is on-par with what the fulltime staff deals with. I worked on projects and assignments similar to those of the fulltime staff.
It was very easy to get involved in “office life” at the ILO. I became the treasurer of the ILO Intern Board, an intern-run organization that provides professional, academic, and social growth opportunities for the nearly 100 interns working there. The board’s hosted activities included multiple social outings each week, arranging for department heads to speak to the interns about subjects of interest, and organizing trips to Bern, Zürich, and Lausanne in Switzerland and to several French cities including Lyon. As treasurer my responsibilities were to manage the financial activities of the Intern Board and identify maintenance costs and room for investment. I shared this amazing experience with people who were generally 5-10 years older than myself and who came from at least 25 different countries. But we were all equals in each other’s eyes. It was helpful at the start to be part of a contingent of four Cornellians from the ILR School, and there are many relationships that I hope to be able to continue even from across the ocean.
Between online Cornell classes and ILO-related work, I did not have as much free time to explore Europe as I had originally thought. I concentrated my sightseeing opportunities to Switzerland and France, visiting the Swiss and French cities of Bern, Zermatt, Zürich, Lausanne, Gstaad, Gruyére, Annecy, Lyon, Vevey, Epesses, and of course Paris. I’ll never forget the most famous landmarks of Paris - the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Arc de Triomphe - and the scenic Swiss villages, including Zermatt, where we climbed to a height of 10,000 feet and saw the famous Matterhorn.
The internship with the ILO has fueled my passion not only for a career involving human relations and law, but also a vision to help make men and woman feel respected in the workplace and earn a decent and rewarding livelihood. I would like to thank Ms. Beachler, Professor Rubineau, the ILR School Credit Internship Program, and the staff of the Institute in Geneva for allowing me to gain real-world experience in the fields of human relations and law.
- Craig DeFrancisco, BSILR '12