2017-02-16 15.29.32
Natalie
Economics and Anthropology
Natalie

I’m not a political science major. And yet…
I always knew I wanted to study abroad as a part of my undergraduate experience, because it is a great time to gain new knowledge in an international setting. Who knows when else I will have an opportunity to do so! When I was looking into where to study and what program to go with, I was attracted to Jennifer’s program due to the hands on learning aspect intrinsically a part of having an internship. Despite not studying Political Science, I have gained valuable knowledge related to my educational interests as the Parliament is a vehicle for decision making, impacting many parts of society. With broad interests and unclear career plans, I am excited about having this internship to help shape my career goals and qualification. I have seen and understood not only how a high-level, busy office works, but about the legislative process in the EU, interaction between member states, interaction between the EU and abroad, as well as how a large supranational budget is used and controlled. Many facets go into the broadly legislative work of the Parliament and engaging with various parts is a unique and worthwhile experience.

A warm welcome to my office
Working at the European Parliament, while not a European Citizen is an interesting and enriching experience. While I am an outsider in language and citizenship, I have been warmly welcomed. I work in the office of Dr. Gräßle, a German MEP. There have been three other interns working with me at various times. Working with and getting to know other students, from Germany, has added a personal touch to my experience. The assistants working in the office, my supervisors, are all kind and happy to explain new concepts to me. Dr. Graessle is the chair of the Budgetary Control Committee, and much of the work I do is related. I read lengthy reports and summarize them for Dr. Gräßle’s notes. I research and analyze different information for various reports. I attend meetings on relevant topics, where I take notes that are of interest to the Assistant’s work. The panel style meetings are often attended by think tanks, MEP’s, Commission Members and other relevant professionals. The topics require an understanding in order to follow along, as well as constructing pointed notes, keeping in mind what the assistant is hoping to learn from the event. For example, I most recently went to a meeting on the synergy of the European Structural and Investment Funds with the European Fund for Strategic Investments. With prior research, I was able to create notes that answered my supervisor’s questions.

I was able to pursue my interests
Additionally, I can attend any meeting that is interesting to me. At the parliament, there are always meetings going on that are interesting and open. Even if not relevant to the office, I may want to go because of personal interest. I most recently attended a meeting about the EU’s response to President Trumps Global Gag Rule. Viewing American affairs from the European perspective, at this tumultuous time, has has given me a new viewpoint. Working here during Trump’s inauguration has been an unforgettable experience. Not only do I get to see the reactions of international politicians first hand, but I also get to explain an American perspective to inquiring europeans.

I was surprised too!
As the most proficient english speaker in the office, I am often called upon to edit the writing of the Assistants and other interns. While I have solid grammar skills, I have never been the person my peers come to for editing matters. I now consider myself to be the English advisor of my office. While fixing basic grammar is not high level, it is a unique skill that I bring to the office to help contribute.