Interns 2018 - Winter
Meet Benjamin, Kristina, Whitney and Clara. They interned at EPLO during the winter months of 2018.
What is the most interesting aspect of EPLO’s Internship Program?
Kristina: The most interesting aspect of the EPLO internship program is the variety of experience provided and the depth of access. I was able to meet dignitaries, talk with experts, and be involved at a very close proximity to organizing, facilitating, and engaging with high-level actors and discussions.
Whitney: The most interesting aspect of EPLO's Internship Program is the first-hand experience with a very important institution of the EU, not to mention the wonderful staff. It is an engaging opportunity that allows for learning and having fun.
Benjamin: The unique opportunity to build on the experience at EPLO in Washington by continuing the internship at the European Parliament in Brussels.
What is your favorite place or thing to do in Washington, DC?
Benjamin: The National Gallery of Art offers drawing workshops with local artists. Come join me!
Kristina: I love eating long meals and having conversations at the restaurants - Lapis in Adams Morgan and The Pig on 14th are current favorites. I also love walking the Mall, reading in the museums (the Gallery in the Renwick and the Courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery are particularly beautiful), and working at local coffee shops - try The Potter’s House or Elle in Mt. Pleasant, or Illy near the EU Headquarters.
Whitney: Most of the museums are free and it's always great to learn about the history of the city.
Clara: Cry about how expensive everything is !! (laughs).
Can you tell us something about yourself that your colleagues might not know?
Benjamin: I testified before the UN Human Rights Council when I was 18, I memorize poetry, and am an avid baseball historian. I can also do an above-average JFK impression.
Clara: I learned how to birdwatch my senior year of university and I love it. DC is unfortunately filled with European Starlings and House Sparrows, so there aren't a lot of interesting birds to watch in the city.
Kristina: I play the oboe and English Horn. (laughs)
Whitney: I have been playing the guitar for 11 years, was in 3 rock bands, and am a vexillologist.
How do you think this internship will help you in the future?
Whitney: It shows that I am competent in the field of trans-Atlantic relations, which is what I want to be involved with in my future career. The time spent in Brussels will also show potential employers that I am a reliable and internationally minded person, which could be translated into a job in diplomacy.
Kristina: The internship does a fantastic job of acquainting the trainee with a real example of a diplomatic environment. Instead of theory, the practical experience of being in an office, writing and editing reports, attending events, and completing projects on deadline gave me a good idea of what to expect in an everyday workplace in the field.
Clara: This internship set me on a path into the renewable energy sector, which is a sector I never thought I'd enter. This internship will help because I now understand how public policy affects the private sector in terms of energy infrastructure planning and building.
Benjamin: Strengthening the trans-Atlantic relationship is one of the most important factors in maintaining the liberal word order today. The next generation of trans-Atlantic leaders need to rededicate themselves to this relationship and the values that founded it. Reinvigorating that relationship and educating those leaders happen at places like EPLO.
What advice would you give to future interns?
Kristina: Do your best work. The work you complete for EPLO will be sent directly to policy influencers in Brussels- so it can have an impact. Keep this in mind when providing a complete product to your supervisor. Lazy work has a chance to negatively impact very real policy and people.
Clara: Everyone in DC will tell you to "build your network". Don't stress too much about this, and don't think that getting as many business cards as you can is the best way to go about it. Make real, personal connections and friendships with people you click with. That's how you'll be successful in DC.
Benjamin: Take initiative. D.C. rewards both eagerness and action and there are always opportunities, in EPLO and elsewhere, to find new challenges that can be met. You can only grow if your endeavors surpass your level of comfort; so work on a type of project that you've never worked on before, learn a new skillset, and ask others what they are working on and how you can contribute. That also means showing up in person and leaving the air-conditioned office behind. You'll survive.
Whitney: Try to live close to the city because the Metro is unreliable! Also plan out your time wisely. Do not attend all events just because they look or sound cool. Make sure they are relevant to the work you are doing.
What have you enjoyed most about living in DC? Has anything surprised you so far?
Benjamin: D.C. is a great city to be young. It's filled with politically and globally-minded individuals who are passionate about their work and eager to share their views. There is a non-stop surge of interesting and compelling events on a myriad of issues. They also have tons of free food.
Clara: Everyone in DC is very unique and quirky. Everyone has their stories of how they got here and what their big dreams/goals are. It's been fun talking to people from all over the world, as well as those that grew up in the area.
Whitney: Being around all the Embassies, the international atmosphere, and the beautiful architecture in certain parts of the city. I am surprised how awful the public transportation is. Seriously.
Kristina: The atmosphere is invigorating. Everyone in the city is here for a purpose and pursues that purpose with passion. It’s impossible not to be inspired.