Meet our Fall 2017 interns Miguel, Nathan, Kate, Jesse and Mary.
What is the most interesting aspect of EPLO’s Internship Program?
Miguel: The fact that EPLO’s internship is quite literally Trans-Atlantic, is the most interesting aspect of the entire experience, giving interns the opportunity to engage deeply in EU-US relations on both sides of the pond. As Americans entering the program, us interns are oft to think of issues through our habitual American-centrist lens. EPLO’s intern program provides the awesome, and seemingly once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity to expand perceptions, rout false presumptions, and grow in all aspects, reinforced as the program is by geographical, social, and cultural learning.
Nathan: It is an extremely unique and exciting opportunity to work as an American with one of the world's most important political institutions. Having the chance to see the work the European Parliament and EPLO do up close is a chance not many young American europhiles get to experience.
Kate: There is a lot that EPLO is involved in, considering the importance of the transatlantic relationship. This of course presents a very interesting landscape for trainees to work in. Getting a direct insight of how liaising between two countries functions is a unique experience! To make matters better, the ability to work in Brussels at the European Parliament allows for the whole picture of the transatlantic relationship to come into view—you see how your work in DC influences plays a role in Brussels. In all, I would say the possibility to interact with government officers and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic is the most interesting aspect.
Jesse: The most interesting aspect of the internship is the ability to see how the European Parliament functions from the inside.
Mary: For me, the most interesting aspect is the ability to work on transatlantic relations from both sides! Working on US-EU relations from Washington, DC and then working on EU-US relations from Brussels gave me a very unique, and well-rounded, approach to the transatlantic partnership.
What is your favorite place to go or thing to do in Washington, DC?
Miguel: Although seasonal, ice skating at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink has to be my favorite activity in DC when things get cold. Enjoy some leisurely skating with friends as you inhale deep breaths of the cold, crisp, Winter air at the only ice rink smack dab in the middle of our National Mall!
Nathan: Soaking up all the history and grandiosity DC has to offer in its many museums, monuments, and institutions.
Jesse: My favorite thing to do in Washington D.C. is to tour the monuments, especially at night.
Mary: Monuments at night!
Can you tell us something about yourself that your colleagues might not know?
Miguel: My first visit to DC was as a participant for the 2008 National Geographic Bee. Having worked at it for three years, I finally clinched my State Championship, got to go to DC, got to meet the host - Alex Tribeck, and got to meet a slew of very intelligent people, many of whom I’m still friends with today.
Mary: I want to open a restaurant one day.
How do you think this internship will help you or helped you when you left EPLO?
Miguel: Having conducted my internship through the European Parliament Research Service, I had the incredible opportunity to not only conduct research which would be widely disseminated, but also to have my name included and credited in publications. Expanding one’s portfolio, while gaining valuable hands-on experience, stands to be a boon for anyone’s professional profile.
Nathan: This internship has given me a more complete understanding of the EU and the European Parliament, something that it so critical in this day and age. In order for the transatlantic relationship to flourish, Europeans and Americans need to continue to strive towards a greater understanding and appreciation of one another.
Jesse: My time at EPLO absolutely helped me to land my current job. I am sure that both the job experience as well as recommendations from my supervisors at EPLO helped me greatly in my career.
Mary: One particular benefit of EPLO was the practice I gained in speaking comfortably with MEP’s and other distinguished experts, which is an important skill in the International Relations community in DC.
What advice would you give to future interns?
Miguel: DC is the national capital, but its also the capital of all things political, so be sure to venture out and take advantage of all the opportunities and resources that are offered. The comparative advantage of EPLO, as a unique EU mission, is that one has the access and ability to find the issues and answers that might not be so widely discussed in the national or international discourse. So go to that niche think tank event, or to that hearing on the Hill… You might just provide some unparalleled contribution to the team, or at least discover something new.
Nathan: Enjoy yourself! Of course work hard and focus on learning, but don't forget to appreciate the experience and indulge in the opportunity as well.
Kate: A word of advice is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. By this, I mean, take chances in volunteering to work on different projects or events around the office, including with people you do not know directly. The best way to meet everyone at EPLO and possibly at the Delegation is to make an active effort to get involved. Any task, no matter how small, provides an opportunity to connect with colleagues and to learn from them. There are plenty of interesting people to talk to!
Jesse: Absolutely take the two month extension to Brussels, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Mary: When networking, don’t neglect relationships with low-level staff all around the city, they can be your best asset when it comes to making the most of your network in both the short and long term.
What have you enjoyed most about living in/exploring DC? Has anything surprised you so far?
Miguel: Unlike my hometown, DC has a pretty decent beer scene – (some) microbreweries, good bars, etc. My colleagues being the most familiar people in my life while in DC, I adored getting together after work, sharing a beer, and getting (aggressively) competitive at Trivia events. If you were not aware, Trivia is DC’s true ‘bloodsport.’ Do not be surprised if you lose often, especially if Niall is not present!
Nathan: Being surrounded by so many people who care about the same issues and share a curiosity about policy and the world has been very rewarding.
Kate: An incredible aspect of D.C. is that there is always something going on, whether it's a panel, symposium, festival, or conference. However, the best event to partake in is the pub trivia hosted throughout the city during the week. It's a great way of getting colleagues or friends together—and to meet new people after work. The weather is a factor to consider, however. I don't think I've ever lived in a city with such unpredictable forecasts as DC!
Jesse: I have really enjoyed living in the DC area for the past 3 years, it is great to be around so many intelligent and well educated people. One of my favorite parts about DC is how cosmopolitan it is, and that is saying a lot coming from a New Yorker like myself.
Mary: It’s the best place, there’s really a niche for every interest here. The sense of community in each neighborhood took me pleasantly by surprise.