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School of Politics and International Relations

QMUL Student Zoe Ballantyne awarded internship at the World Health Organization


Zoe Ballantyne is a student on the MSc Global Health, Law and Governance programme. As part of her studies, she took the module ‘Global Politics of Health’ offered at the School of Politics and International Relations. She is currently an Intern at the World Health Organization:WHO.  Here she explains more about her experience.


What motivated you to apply for an internship at WHO?

I was interested in getting exposure to policy level work in a global organisation. The content of my Masters programme along with my medical background seemed to lead me in the direction of WHO, and the time was right to put my investment into my studies into some kind of real world experience.

Tell us about your role and what you do.

I am one of three interns currently in the HPU. I am working on one of the thematic areas for the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion which will take place towards the end of next year. The first few weeks involved lots of reading to understand the subject of health literacy, and since then I have put together an abstract for a presentation at another conference next year. I am working on developing a questionnaire through which to assess countries’ activities in the area health literacy, and a complimentary literature review. Hopefully the work will contribute towards a background paper for the 9th GCHP.

What have you enjoyed most?

I have a real interest in the subject area of my work, and developing my knowledge and expertise on the subject is really enjoyable. I also feel very fortunate to be experiencing the life and culture of the WHO HQ and meeting other interns and experts here.

How has the Global Politics of Health module helped?

At times I have felt out of my depth with the change from practice and academic study to such a high policy environment. I am 100% certain that this would have been much more of a problem had I not taken this module, as it provided a fantastic breadth and depth of knowledge exchange in an engaging and therefore memorable way. It was especially useful in terms of providing critical analysis of the role and position of the WHO in the context of Global Politics and Governance for Health.