I finished my college exams in late-May and took a break for a few days before heading off to Brussels to intern for MEP Marian Harkin in the European Parliament. I don’t really know what it was that drew me to Brussels, but I’m very, very thankful for having had the amazing opportunity.
Work started at nine each morning, and seemed to end whenever one wanted. I stayed most days until five, but often found myself observing meetings past 8 o’clock. To start off each day, the security to get into the Parliament was very thorough; you need a badge to even get in the front door, and then there is a security check similar to the set up in airports, and then you have to produce your badge again before you progress into the Parliament. There are just over 6,000 employees in total. There’s everything you’d want in a place of work: there’s a canteen, a restaurant, a few different coffee shops, news agents, a nail salon, hairdressers and even an underground food-shop. It’s like a little independent city in the middle of Brussels.
I was so nervous on my first day! I had a dozen questions, but I figured it all out eventually, and ended up learning so much. Ms. Harkin does a lot of work for disability rights, so working in her office was perfect for my interests. I sat in on a lot of meetings and conferences on the rights of those with disabilities in Europe. I also sat in on one meeting on the Common Fisheries Policy and Brexit, which was not really my area of interest, but it was cool, nonetheless. The most interesting were a series of meetings organised by MEP Helga Stevens to compile a report on the Disability Strategy 2010-2020 in the EU. The European Union does a lot to support the rights of those with disabilities – which is partially why I’m so interested in EU politics, I suppose.
I saw and felt all of the work that goes into keeping the Member States of the EU functioning and harmonised. After Brexit and the threat of more Member States following in the UK’s footsteps, I think there is nothing more important than the work that the EU does to keep us united. I really believe in the European Union, and I hope that more people do before it’s too late.
I’m very intent on working there again in the future, but I won’t say anything for definite, keeping in mind my indecisiveness on the subject. As like most other twenty-year-olds, I just don’t know where my life is going! I think that my college course is a good start if the end goal is to work in the European Union.
Reading my blog posts from last summer is hilarious; I can’t believe I was so intent on working in genetics that I travelled to Australia to do so. I can honestly say it was the biggest mistake of my life, I wish I could just erase the whole year. Now, I’m just home from having the best experience interning in the European Parliament, intent on a career in politics. It was the summer I should have had last year.