Kelly Phan in The Hague.

FOR Bendigo’s Kelly Phan, the call to say she’d received an internship with the Coalition for the International Criminal Court at The Hague for the summer holidays came with dual emotions – special and shocking.

“When I applied for it, I thought I would just throw my hat in the ring and see how it goes, I didn’t even expect to hear back,” she said.

“Then they called me for an interview and I managed to get a spot. I was really, really chuffed.”

The 20-year-old Monash University Law student is spending three weeks in the communications department of the NGO, as part of the ICC’s week-long Assembly of State Parties.

The role includes note taking, photography, and updating social media. Earlier this week she also met ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Ms Phan said the internship was prime opportunity to put her studies into action, and gain insight into areas not usually accessible in her degree.

“I’m really excited to see the political aspect of it, because obviously we’re going to have lots of states coming in casting their own view on how international humanitarian law is going to be run for the next year at the ICC,” she said.

“It’s definitely very different to anything I’ve ever done before.”

This opportunity is one step closer to Ms Phan’s hope of working in peacekeeping with an international NGO in the future.

“The internship will be a really good chance to try out things and see all the possibilities of where my career could go,” she said.

2018 has been a big year for the former Bendigo Senior Secondary student, having also travelled to Thailand in August for the University Scholars Leadership Symposium, a conference which discussed the role of the United Nations in the international field.

She said a drive for being constantly busy and curious led her to take on such a wide range of opportunities.

“I don’t really like going outside of my comfort zone, but at the end of it all it always ends up being worth it, and I always end up having these amazing experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t just push myself.”

And, she said that it was Bendigo’s spirit which has set her on her way.

“Just because you came from a small town, doesn’t mean you can’t end up on the world stage.”

– Sam Kane