More than I expected…
As an International Relations (IR) major with a keen interest in policies concerning human rights, global development, and environmental sustainability, I had always hoped to work with an institution that covers at least one of these policy areas. Never had I imagined that a single internship would expose me to all three; which is exactly what my experience at the European Parliament did.
I received a warm welcome
For my internship, I worked in the office of Dr. Miriam Dalli (S&D), a Maltese MEP (Member of the European Parliament) who serves on several parliamentary committees. The ENVI committee deals exclusively with environmental issues, while the LIBE committee broadly addresses human rights and civil liberties. Because this was my first political internship, I did not know what to expect and was admittedly quite nervous. I also felt that my lack of experience with European politics would inhibit my ability to be an impactful intern. However, my office did a great job of showing me the ropes and taking a class on European politics at Vesalius College (which was part of the program) definitely made the learning process much easier.
My daily life in the internship
Throughout my internship, I was tasked with several responsibilities – everything from note-taking at parliamentary committee sessions to drafting and editing speeches for my MEP. Coincidentally, my internship also overlapped with the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (Council) and so I also got a chance to attend exclusive Maltese cultural and social events. These were great networking opportunities and I was able to rub shoulders with some of the “big-shots” in European politics, including EU Commissioners! Ultimately, my internship reaffirmed my interest in public policy and informed my decision to apply to European graduate programs. Plus, interning at the EP is a great resume booster!
I had a great time in Brussels
Beyond my internship, I fell in love with Brussels and Belgium in general. The country is not as fast paced as the U.S but also not as low-key as my home, Zimbabwe. Brussels is easy to navigate, has a vibrant social scene (particularly at night) AND has phenomenal beer! Although I couldn’t do much international travel, Belgium gave me far more than I bargained for and it ranks high on the list of countries I have lived in thus far.
In sum, my experience in Brussels was amazing and given the chance, I’d do it all over again.
– Adil is now pursuing his Masters at the prestigious Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, Switzerland.