Internship Experience @ Centre For WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi: Research Based Work, Excellent Professors, 2ND PRIZE WINNING ENTRY

Name of the intern

Yavanika Shah, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, IInd

Name of the Organisation & City

Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi.

Kind of organization

A research-based organisation that works specifically in the field of World Trade organisation in particular and International trade relations in general.

The centre regularly provides research on various WTO and trade related queries to the Government of India.

(To know more: wtocentre.iift.ac.in)

Why I chose IIFT?

I had recently entered my 2nd year, thereby having very little know-how about the laws.

Law firms/Companies would have been too high a choice to be opted for while I had already completed an NGO internship.

What I was looking for was an internship that would nurture my research skills, as the need for good research is a must if you want to be good at whatever you want to in a law school.

And hence, a centre that deals specifically with the World Trade organisation seemed very interesting to me.

Plus, frankly, being associated with the brand, IIFT was an opportunity no one should ever leave.

Recommended For:

  • Ist/ IInd Year Law students.
  • Students interested in the field of research and do not mind long sessions with huge books in the library.
  • Students interested specifically in issues related to international law and trade.
  • Students who are clueless of what kind of internship they want and would want to give it a shot for CV value. (Like, seriously. No lies. It’s human nature)
Duration/Timings

1st July- 25th July’ 2015.

Monday to Friday (5 Days a week)

9.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m but one could leave by 4.00 pm.

This was the best part. For a person who had just completed a rigorous non-flexible Monday to Saturday, 10am-7pm taxing internship, this internship provided with a free Saturday which could be put in use to some good Delhi shopping regimes. What more a young girl could ask for?

Location

7th Floor, IIFT Bhawan, B-21, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi – 110016

The nearest metro station was- Hauz Khas. (Delhi Metros: Making Delhi internship life bearable, happier and friendlier for the pocket since almost a decade, Yay.)

From the metro station, one can either hire an auto which would take around Rs. 60-80 depending on the combination of various conditions like the rush, traffic, weather and most importantly, the oh-so-variable Delhi auto-drivers mood.

Preferably, one can befriend a couple of co-interns and decide to reach the metro station at the same time in order to pool in auto-ride fares every day.

Or, if you would want to save a little in your pocket, you could travel in the metro bus which was frequently available after regular intervals right from the metro gate and cost you Rs. 5 till the Katwaria Sarai.

(Do not forget to carry 5-rupee coins for the same, else getting the change back would turn up to be a more difficult task then getting your internship work completed).

In this case, you would have to sit (if you’re lucky enough to get a seat) or go standing all the way squeezed between people due to the constantly filling bus.

From Katwaria Sarai, one could very easily walk a 500 metre distance(Put Google Maps into action) to reach the grand campus of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade having some really fancy government organisations like the 7th Pay commission office, NCERT office etc, in its vicinity which made the location quite posh and clean.

Application procedure

One is advised to send their updated CVs around four-five months prior to the month for which they want to get the internship for.

Mails in the proper format should be sent to the Administrative Officer of the centre, Mr. A.K.Lahiri at [email protected]

Editor’s note: Do not send emails en masse to the above email ID. Your application will be rejected. 

First, seriously consider if you really want to apply here. If yes, apply with a customized CV and cover letter.

The authorities are very prompt in reverting and you can expect a reply within a week regarding either the acceptance or the rejection of the internship.

If you’ve a decent CV and the slots for the same have been already filled, they might ask you another set of dates which you would wish to intern in. Bingo!
First impressions & the first day formalities:

The interns for the month of July were asked to report to the administrative office, Mr. A.K Lahiri on 1st July 2015 at 10.00 am with our own laptops.

I reached the IIFT campus and started finding the administrative block. The campus is huge and lush green. There is a Nescafe outlet just as one gets inside the campus from the entry gate. (This made me the happiest).

The campus comprised of spectacularly made academic block, auditorium and the hostels all scattered in acres of feel-good environment.

The administrative building consisted of the classes, the seminar halls, an office building of the administrative staff and the canteen.

The entrance of the administrative building has a huge meticulously made reception area (of which I immediately took a photo of and sent it to my parents) where I had to enquire about the centre’s location due to me being completely clueless.

The lady at the reception directed me to the lift area from where I was taken to 7th floor which is specifically designated to the Centre for WTO studies.

There I, along with my co-interns were made to be seated in the main working area room after being marked present by Mr. A.K Lahiri who was a happy and cheerful man.

From there we were individually asked to go to Shailja Singh ma’am’s (Legal consultant) cabin who delightfully welcomed us with an informal chit-chat asking details about us, our expectations from the internship, and our prior knowledge about WTO thereby designating us our first task.

There were around 10 legal interns ranging from the top NLUs to the private universities and a similar number of interns from the Economics streams (SRCC people too) all working under the centre. We were then asked to fill a form for getting our WiFi’s in laptops enabled.

Thereafter we were directed to go to the college’s library situated on the first floor of the same block with the library pass we were issued for a month.

The library is a huge two-storey building consisting of plethora of books on various topics related to the management, law, international relations, finance, foreign affairs etc.

A specific area of the first floor of the library was for the Centre for WTO Studies. The library is well maintained with almost all the related books and journals on the subject of trade and international policies.

The co-interns were some fabulous people and we all got really well, befriending each other, eating our lunches together, going for walks to refresh ourselves from day one itself.

Team size

The core team comprises of the professors of the Institute itself. Brilliantly-talented people with strong understanding and clarity of thought, always ready to help.

There are also a number of young, bright and confident research scholars graduated from the top Indian law universities who are a part of the centre’s research wing.

(The research room has some really positive vibes every time you go there because of these fantastic scholars)

Main tasks

The first day, I was told to go in library and read the basics of WTO from the book they recommended.

When all of the interns got a basic idea of what WTO actually is and does, a meeting was conducted in the round-table conference room wherein everyone were allotted specific Indian states to be researched about on their policies of subsidies and countervailing measures with a detailed analysis and its critique.

That was the main research paper each intern had to complete by the end of the internship. Regular meetings were conducted.

The interns regularly had to present everything they used to research in a professional manner to the professors who listened to our views, ideas and findings and also suggested implementations as well as the additions that were to be made in the paper by each one of the interns.

Amidst this, I was also asked to prepare various case notes on the IPR cases which proved really helpful for a deeper and a better understanding of the IPR related laws in practicality.

Work environment

The work environment was very friendly and all the interns used to help each other, discussing and debating the issues that used to arise in the research we undertook that helped to keep ourselves away from getting bored.

The professors were always available and used to love solving our doubts.

The meetings of the conference room used to be really professional which boosted each one of us with lots of confidence when every intern had to present their respective researches in front of everyone.

Best things

The best things would include the overall environment, the amazing library and the bonds I made with the co-interns.

All the interns got really well with each other and most of us are still in contact which has led to a lot of inter-college connections building which every student should try building as soon as possible in his/her college phase.

The canteen food was very affordable with around Rs. 60 for a complete lunch thali.

If not the canteen food, there is a very famous Dhaba just in front of the college which serves really delicious food. And also, the ice cream stalls stand right in front of the college entrance to beat the heat.

Or you could just get your food packed from home, if you happen to be a localite.

Also, they didn’t mind taking you even if you’re a first year, if your CV really interests them.

This was also one of the best parts as there was an equal representation of interns from all the batches and none of the first years were in any way lagging behind the seniors in terms of dedication and hard work put forward.

Bad Things

As the library was huge in size, the ACs didn’t generally work properly and it used to be really hot while sitting and researching there.

Also, if you’re really not a research-based work lover, you might feel the internship to be too boring due to its monotonous nature.

Rest, everything about this internship was really worth appreciating.

What did you do to chill? Co-interns, colleagues

We used to take a self-decided coffee break at 12 noon and go to the Nescafe stall inside the campus and roam a little bit everywhere around the lush green campus, clicking pictures, rejuvenating ourselves with energies for the remaining work.

Then there used to be a lunch break from 1.30-2.00 p.m which used to be spent in having our lunches with chit-chatting sessions amongst the interns.

These breaks didn’t let us feel bored with the monotonous work and helped us to joyfully complete our tasks.

Biggest Lessons

The internship got me to do a lot of core research-based work.

“The happiness of meeting the deadlines, the adrenaline rush before the conference room presentation and getting the beautifully drafted internship certificate in the end which even stated the tiniest topic we researched at in the centre were a complete delight. (A happy ending, indeed!)”

Where everyone around you keeps saying that you can’t get a good internship without contacts, this internship wonderfully broke the taboo for me. And, therefore, will always be the 25 days I spent worth remembering.

Due to core-research based work, one is supposed to dedicate long sittings in front of his/her laptop, which sometimes become a tad too boring but have definitely increased my capacity to concentrate for long hours which would in years ahead will help me big time with increased efficiency for internships at big firms.

For anyone who chooses a research-based internship, needs to be prepared for long sitting hours with books, Microsoft Word, and several relevant/irrelevant tabs open in one’s browser.

One should be able to strike a perfect balance between enjoying the beautiful literature the research organisations are well-endowed with along with their primary internship work.

Also, I learned that good non-plagiarised research takes a lot of time and commitment. (Please Note: Law is a jealous mistress. But, a rewarding one if you start loving the work you do.)

There’s a saying that “One should choose a job he loves, for then he’ll never have to work a day in his life.”

The research based work I did here taught me a lot about what interests and disinterests me and what I would actually like to do with my law degree post the college gets over.

I guess, this was the best possible thing any internship could teach you, that too in your first year itself- To know about oneself and the prime reason to pursue a degree in law.

Stipend/ month

No stipend. (My third stipend-less internship but for the first time I had no regrets for it because the place was a learning and laughter ride worth remembering that outweighed the ‘blissful-stipend-receiving-moment’.)

Accommodation

I stayed in Delhi NCR at my own place hence accommodation wasn’t a problem for me.

One can look up for PG options near the Hauz Khas metro station which are easily available at a decent price, as a couple of my co-interns had told me.

Also, it’s the age of the internet. Smart Google is the key to almost all the problems. Well, almost.

Here you go: PGs in Hauz Khas

Rating-

8.5/10

The author highly recommends at least one internship at a research centre to every law student.

This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.

The entry won the 2nd prize in the competition!

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Comments Till Now

  1. Dharamveer says:

    Beautifully crafted.step by step detaied explanation..a real guide to a new and a real intern..thank you…

  2. Happy reader says:

    That is such a detailed and well written piece., 🙂

  3. Right thinking member of the society says:

    Don’t even try for law firms. They will always be too high a choice. 🙂

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