My friend Pablo from Mexico earned a position to work in Switzerland as an Assistant Advisor to the Americas Region in the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.
The Ramsar Convention, or the Convention on Wetlands, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the basis for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
In this post Pablo explains us everything we need to know if we want to apply for this position. We will know which are the main features of this work, such as eligibility and funding, which are the steps of the application process, and how was Pablo’s experience, conclusions and recommendations.
If you want to know more about traveling with purpose, I recommend you to have a look at Pablo’s blog Destination World Heritage. And follow him on his social media accounts. Also you can send him a message there and ask him any doubt you have:
- Type of program: Work Abroad
- Location: Gland, near Geneva, Switzerland
- Websites: https://www.ramsar.org
- Eligibility Requirements:
- Nationals from any of the Americas region countries (from Canada to Argentina and Chile).
- English and Spanish are a must; French will add points!
- Applicants should be under 30 (by the time of application).
- Important to know, my position is also open for other regions: Asia/Oceania, Africa and Europe. That means, this applies to all the world, same terms, same conditions.
- Duration: my abroad experience will last for one year, although the contract might be extended up to two years, to give the opportunity to more people to come.
- Application Fee: there is no application fee, you only need to follow the vacancy instructions, create an applicant’s profile and be patient. It could take a week or half a year to hear the final decision
- Finance: My position as Assistant Advisor to the Americas Region in the RAMSAR Convention Secretariat covers everything! But there are some small letters on the contract. I.e. You get a salary of about $4,000 Swiss Francs, which does not sound bad at all. From there you’ll have to cover the rent of your apartment ($1,000 CHF), bills, medical insurance, etc… Just be aware of this and don’t come expecting to be a millionaire, depending on how you manage your finances you can have a very good life. Also, RAMSAR pays for half of the price of your meals, pays for your return ticket from home, process your visa/work permit… What else can you ask for?
The position is advertised before the current person ends his appointment. That means, you’ll have to wait a bit until I’m about to leave, or the person after me or so on.
Create your profile: once the vacancy is announced, you’ll see a link saying: Apply here. Follow it, create your profile (usual stuff like name, DOB, education, favorite color, Barça or Juventus, etc.).
Have an interview: then just wait. If you go through the next stage, the interview, they’ll send you an email, and also once you get appointed! Otherwise, keep on checking your profile on the webpage until you see a “Not successful” and stop dreaming about something that won’t be (it happened to me before).
3. My Experience – work in Switzerland
I am a biologist with a master of Environmental Management. This means, I like nature, but also understand the complicated relation it has with humans. We need nature to live, to eat, to enjoy… And because of that need, some people tae advantage and want to take more for themselves, or simply see nature as a never-ending ATM machine, always giving and without seeing the consequences of their acts.
Therefore, I decided to focus in international management of nature (I’m originally from Mexico, and to be honest, working for the government is not my cup of tea, at least not at the moment). I got experience working with different multilateral environmental agreements, some related to United Nations or to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
When I saw this opportunity of being part of an international convention I decided to go for it! But… I failed. Then, the next year I tried again, and here I am now.
My job takes place in the Convention’s headquarters in Gland, near Geneva, Switzerland. We have a great view of the alps, Mont Bland and even Lake Geneva (where in summer swimming is a delight!).
Good to say, the quality of life is amazing, however, the prices are super expensive (compared to the majority of countries on Earth). Even when I go on the weekend to London I find things cheaper there!
However, once again, depending on how you manage your income, things will go smooth for you on financial terms.
c. General Opinion
- Getting close to the international community allows you to keep on learning about the world.
- I usually go to United Nations Office in Geneva for meetings with important people, that’s a good way of networking!
- I’m getting to learn a lot about how international politics work (including the good things like cooperation, and the bad like egos above the main goal of the convention).
- Perhaps not a con but something to consider is that you’ll have to go through a very fast learning curve, and unless you’re familiarized with the convention and how it works, you might find it a bit hard. For that reason, my advice: read as much as you can before even you apply, maybe this is not for you.
- Politics and economics have a bigger weight than what we see as “necessary” for the environment. But that we all know. Just accept it and be creative to think of new ways for making the change, little by little but still.
- Switzerland is in the middle of Europe; therefore, you can go everywhere every time. Flying is the best option as Geneva Airport is less than 40 min. from home.
- If you’re into hiking or snow-sports, take the chance of visiting the alps and get amazing photos from around!
Are you interested in finding opportunities to go abroad? In the Scholarships Finder you can find a wide list of scholarships, work opportunities, volunteer projects, contests, entrepreneurial support, and virtual courses!
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