In the European Parliament, I was given effortless access to academic conferences and policy meetings. At a few I voluntarily attended, I met a researcher pursuing my specific area of academic interest and was given more resources to use when pursuing future study. At similar panel discussions, I met other interns who then in turn invited me to holiday parties and events I would not have found otherwise. And of course, the weekly “Place Lux” happy hour outside of Parliament that is attended by interns and parliamentary assistants allowed to meet some of my best friends and to interact with my colleagues outside of the office. Read more on our blog... Sarah Kennedy, Ohio Wesleyan University
As the capital of the European Union (EU), Brussels is a vibrant multinational city that is well adapted to its role. The city is centrally located among the EU Member States, and the Commission and Parliament buildings stand tall as destinations for politicians, students, and tourists from across Europe and the world. The EU institutions provide more than just a center for politics: there are EU-based art galleries and programming events, such as “Green Week,” which we encountered during the first week of the program. For my internship with the European Parliament (EP), I was placed with MEP Emma McClarkin, who represents the East Midlands region of the United Kingdom. Ms. McClarkin is a member of committees for Culture and Education, Internal Market and Consumer Protection, and International Development. As the office stagiare, I attended various meetings held by these committees, researched relevant issues, and traveled to the Parliament’s location in Strasbourg, France for one week to attend official voting and plenary sessions. The meetings and especially the large plenary sessions, with over 700 representatives from all 27 EU member states, gave me a fascinating inside view of the European system.
The EPA summer program in Brussels provided each participant with a unique experience, and the engaging environment set up by the EPA summer program furthered discussions of our varying academic backgrounds, personal interests and aspirations. The internship and housing arranged by EPA gave me a chance to travel and share experiences with both my European co-workers and American students, and for us to learn from one another’s backgrounds and perspectives. After traveling to nearby European cities – Paris, Amsterdam, and Cologne were easily accessible by train – and then returning home to the US, I was able to reflect more on my internship with the EP. Being immersed in another culture is a life changing experience, one that every student should include in his or her college program, and I continue to share memories with other students who were part of the EPA program. Brussels left a lasting impression and I look forward to once again enjoying the multilingual, multinational environment and breathing in the aroma of freshly baked Belgian waffles. Sarah Karp, University of Rochester
In the fall of my junior year, I went to Madrid to intern at Fundación Mujeres, a women’s rights NGO. Although non-profit work was not something I had been initially interested in doing, the experience proved very valuable. I’m now looking into advocacy jobs for after I graduate, and I love being able to boast an overseas internship on my resume.
After over a month of winter break back in the US, I proceeded to Berlin in February. I had the honor of interning in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, with a front seat in the SPD Task Force for EU Affairs as the country faced the imminent Brexit vote, the migration crisis, and a slew of other international issues. The wonderful program director, Hartwig Prüßmann, had worked diligently to find me a fulfilling internship, and I am eternally grateful to him and will never stop singing his praises.
My times in Madrid and Berlin couldn’t have been more different. Obviously, Spanish and German cultures are quite distinct in nearly every regard (personal conduct, social norms, punctuality, food, nightlife, etc). Then there was the sharp contrast between working in a nonprofit that operates out of the same building as a taxi company and working in central parliamentary offices with occasional trips to plenum, one of which opened with a speech by Prime Minister Angela Merkel. Just as notable, though, were the arrangements of each program. In Spain, I lived with a delightful host mom and another EPA student, worked only 20 hours per week, took classes at Nebrija University, and made friends by playing on a local ultimate frisbee team. In Berlin, I lived on my own in an apartment, interned full-time, had weekly evening tutoring sessions with an EPA-appointed professor, and befriended fellow Bundestag interns by meeting for weekly dinners.
I won’t say which semester I preferred, but both experiences taught me invaluable lessons in living independently, adapting to new environments of all kinds, and what I want to do (and not do) professionally. Read more on our blog... Eva Reynolds, University of Rochester
As the leading business lobbying organization on the continent, BUSINESSEUROPE is the voice for European competitiveness and economic growth in the global economy. The organization represents 40 members in over 30 countries and plays the vital role of lobbying the interests of European businesses, big and small, to the EU institutions. Having lived on three different continents and in over five cultures, I have become familiar and particularly fascinated with how nations interact at the international, political level. At BUSINESSEUROPE, I worked specifically with the International Relations department and was given the unique opportunity to observe international trade developments and to conduct cutting-edge research in the field.
As an intern, I wrote position papers, researched and co-authored supporting documents on EU-US free trade negotiations (TTIP), other ongoing trade and investment negotiations around the world and the Russia-Ukraine crisis. I also had the opportunity to help with the organization of the Asia Europe Business Forum (AEBF), a high-level conference gathering heads of states and CEOs from both Asia and Europe in Milan, Italy.
The experience was intense, intellectually stimulating, and extremely fun. My writing, research, and analytical skills were sharpened, and my political perspective was diversified and expanded to include the process of political and economic integration that characterizes the European Union. Read more on the Internships in Brussels blog... Jonathan Kubakundimana, Furman University
I just completed an incredible internship experience in Edinburgh, Scotland with EPA Internships in Europe. I was an intern for the Scottish Parliament during a major campaign season, and during my stay I participated in one of the most historical and exciting political times since the reopening of the new Scottish Parliament.
I was an intern for Michael Matheson, a Member of the Scottish Parliament who is also the Deputy Covener of the European and External Relations Committee and a member of the Health and Sport Committee. I also had the honor of meeting, arguably, two of the most important people in the Scottish government: Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, and Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland. It was also great working with various ambassadors and other international political figures during my internship.
I lived in a great flat near the Edinburgh Castle and loved it! The location was very central and practical for me, and I had the option of traveling around Scotland and other parts of Europe during the weekends. My favorite memory was being asked to sing a traditional Scottish song at a political function and having an entire room of Scottish men and women decide to sing along with me. It was a touching moment of two cultures coming together through song. I know I got the most out of my semester interning abroad and I couldn't be happier! Andrea Andrada, University of Illinois
When studying abroad in London, I completed an internship with the Islington and City Credit Union. By completing this internship I got a great hands on experience and really got to see how credit unions worked inside and out. I did not just concentrate in one division or area, I was able to expand my horizons and touch on every aspect of the credit union. Some tasks I completed throughout the internship included: working with members accounts, conducting marketing research, attending monthly board meetings, attending court hearings, and promoting loan sales based on my research. I can truly say it was a great experience and I learned the foundations of the banking system as a whole.
Other students take on internships with larger banks to get a big name on their resume and under their belt. This too is a great experience, but it is focused on one aspect or division of the bank. It is tough for undergraduate students to know exactly what they want to do and what they would like to take up. I urge students to broaden their horizons and try everything before trying to narrow options down and choose a career. For students in finance, economics, or any student that is somewhat interested in banking or business, I highly recommend an internship with a credit union. Jon Pesota, University of Rochester
During my internship, I spent most of my time writing about events to promote on the website, making flyers for upcoming events in Photoshop, or organizing an object list for the current exhibit. I believe the museum does 3 exhibits per year, and I happened to start right when the newest exhibit had just opened, so I helped catalog all of the items they currently had on display. They used that information to make a large text caption list for visitors.
I also spent some time near the end of my internship researching knitwear trends that were used to promote their upcoming knitwear exhibition. Sometimes I would also help set up classes or events and stay to assist the instructor, and every Friday I worked in the shop. I liked it because I had more direct interaction with the people who visited the museum. Isabelle Chu, University of Rochester
As a Junior Financial Economics Major at the University of Rochester, I interned in London as part of the EPA Internships in Europe program. The University and EPA work together to sponsor semester-long study programs in Europe that offer coursework as well as eight-credit internships of the student’s choosing. I took two courses, Econometrics and International Economics, at the University of Westminster. For a final class project in International Economics, my group members represented Russia, Denmark, India, St. Lucia, and Bulgaria. We all worked well together and got to learn about each other’s home country and culture in the process. This was probably my best educational memory from the UK.
I also completed an internship with Corsair Capital, a private equity firm that invests money in private companies in commercial banking, asset management and insurance. The internship matching is a central part of EPA, and it’s the main reason I chose to go to London on that program. My work with Corsair Capital included case study work outlining prior investments while also updating some models used to value companies. Nicholas Falcone, University of Rochester
I quickly integrated into the marketing team at Umi Digital where I managed Facebook and Twitter accounts for three hotels within London as well as three hotels one in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Maastricht. I also wrote articles for the blog, researched and put together marketing plans. The experience was amazing and the people were great. I learned so much and was given such great responsibility from day one. By immersing myself into this new atmosphere, I not only increased my skills professionally, but my confidence grew as well . Brittany Grage, University of Rochester
One of the most unique components of my semester in Scotland was my academic internship. On most study abroads, you are just taking classes at a foreign university, but with EPA, you have the chance to partake in an internship while also taking a few classes. I interned with Law At Work (LAW), a company that offers employment law, human resources, and health and safety services. My supervisor was one of the HR Consultants.
One lesson I learned is that time management is much different from that in college. Since I was working around 20 hours a week in addition to taking classes, my schedule was super busy. It taught me to take advantage of the small pockets of unstructured time I had here and there to be productive and complete my school work, which also allowed weekend time to travel around Europe. When I leave college, I will need to juggle a lot of responsibilities and interests in addition to my career. My semester abroad definitely gave me a taste of what it may be like to balance everything.
It is the people who can make or break your internship experience. I was lucky enough to have joined a great team that made me feel so welcomed during my short time in Edinburgh and treated me like an actual employee by providing me with work that I felt was truly valuable to the company and challenging for me. It did take me longer to adjust to a non-American work culture. At my internship, at least, the people seem to be more comfortable just being themselves, which was refreshing. However, they are still very hard-working. It is likely you will encounter much diversity in any workplace so it made me more appreciative of this aspect. It was definitely easier though since Scots speak English!
I now have more confidence in myself going into my senior year and preparing to enter the real world which would not have been possible without my EPA internship experience. Read more on our blog... Anna Flynn, Furman University
In Brussels, I took two of my classes at Vesalius College (VUB) - a small private international college - French and International Business Negotiations. In International Business Negotiations, there were students from Portugal, Italy, Belgium, India, United States, Canada, France, Spain, Latvia, Germany, and the list goes on. Collaborating with students from these diverse countries and cultures is truly a learning experience in itself. Since our class is a simulation of former international negotiations, we are constantly exposed to each country's ideas, prejudices, and goals. This is certainly an opportunity one would only have while being in the minority in an international setting, so I'm appreciating this opportunity to learn and grow. While it's enlightening to hear opinions from my peers, it's even more interesting to gain perspective on what the EU is trying to initiate in respect to these topics versus the US. I am gaining a completely new sense of the world we live in and the responsibilities of being global neighbours.
Of course, things in an unfamiliar country are never perfect, but always interesting. Regardless of what happens in Europe - it's a constant adventure, testing you in simple and complicated ways. After two months, I'm beginning to notice how my peers and I are adapting to our new ways of life. It has become second nature living in a large urban city, using public transportation, being at least bilingual, interacting with professors and other students who have strong opinions about our home country, along with balancing classes, internships, travels, and communications with family and friends back home. It's no easy feat, but we are all making the best of every moment growing with each step. Ashley Baker, Furman University
I decided to go on this program because I felt like it was hard to get hands-on experience in the Dental field compared to other medical fields. The practice I was at was pretty far outside the city in a lower income neighborhood. The distance from where I stayed didn’t bother me because what I actually got to do there was so amazing. The practice was all under the National Health Service (NHS) so it was very interesting to compare their health system to ours, especially being in a poorer area.
Chadwell Heath was a large and busy practice that mainly focused on sedation dentistry. For the first month I mainly shadowed, worked the front desk, and sterilized equipment, but as I got more familiar with the practice, I started to gain more responsibilities. On Fridays the practice only saw children. Since it was a sedation practice, the children were all very afraid of the dentist so it was very informative and interesting watching the doctors handle and comfort the children that came in. My main responsibilities on Fridays were to work in the recovery room with the children. I took their vitals before they went into the procedure, and then I cared for them once it was over. It was all very hands-on.
Another great thing about this practice is that there were a few dentists that were professors at dental schools, so they were always very encouraging to me. They taught me so much, and one of the dentists was maybe the most interesting and helpful man I had ever met. The experience of working at this practice changed my perspective and eventual plans for dentistry. After I came home, I was more interested in Public Health and community dentistry. I realized that oral health is often overlooked when it comes to public health. I started working with my University’s Health System to raise awareness, and I wouldn’t have ever thought about it or cared as much as I do if it wasn’t for this internship. I also decided that I want to become a Pediatric Dentist. After watching the doctors work with the kids at Chadwell Heath, it inspired me to want to do the same. My favorite day working was always Fridays, because I got to work with the children that came into the practice. Marissa Erickson, University of Rochester
I worked with an anesthesiologist who was very laid back but at the same time really knew his stuff and wanted us to learn as much as we could. Our internship consisted of a mixture of going into surgery with him or one of his colleagues and creating podcasts. In surgery, I watched patients go under, watched the surgery, and then was there when the patients woke up. During surgery, I could ask questions about what was going on or even about other things like NHS, living in Britain, etc. There were also a lot of med students and trainees in surgery so I could to talk to them about their experiences as well.
The other part of the internship was creating podcasts from articles that were posted on the anesthesia webpage for the UCL medical students. The goal of these podcasts was to give the med students a different resource for learning besides just reading articles.
Overall, it was such a great experience, better than I could've imagined! Brittany Porter, University of Rochester
Working in the Department of Pharmacy at King's College was invaluable because it allowed me to apply my learned classroom knowledge to a research setting, prepared me to work independently, and exposed me to a different culture. This program stands out on my resume, and I am always asked about it during interviews since my internship in London is not a common experience among other applicants! My current position requires critical thinking, good judgment, and good interpersonal skills with researchers and scientists of different cultures and backgrounds, all of which I encountered through my internship in London.
The EPA program allowed me to not only to take a class and intern at a prominent organization but also gave me enough free time to travel to other cities in Europe, which for me was a once in a lifetime opportunity! Liz Tien, University of Rochester
Magical: the only word to accurately describe my experience with the EPA Program in London. As an Intern at the UK Department of Health, I enjoyed many incredible opportunities, visiting Parliament with my supervisor being top among them. My internship was particularly valuable in providing me a diversity of thought and a perspective on healthcare that I have been able to apply to my academic and professional experiences since my return to America.
I also made life-long friendships. Having fun with the other EPA students was as great a part of my experience as working. We really came together as a group living large in London, and I will never forget the weekend trips we took, the laughter we shared, and the unique opportunities (including Wimbledon!) we enjoyed while there. I would recommend the EPA Program to anyone. Providing the chance to live and work, as a resident, in a foreign country is an experience not offered by many study abroad programs, and it's definitely worth it! Teal Liddell, University of Rochester
I participated in the Bonn internship program and could not have been happier with my decision. I knew I wanted to continue getting hands-on experience in the animal field, especially in zoos, and the very dedicated program director, Hartwig Prüßmann, worked tirelessly to make that possible. He was able to secure a placement for me with the bird curator at the Kölner Zoo!
Most importantly though, this internship really had an impact on my future – one that I wasn’t expecting when I applied. Near the end of the internship, I was beginning to consider applying for a Fulbright grant and, with the connections of my boss at the Kölner Zoo, was able to find a researcher at the Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria who was willing to sponsor my research project for the application. Nearly 12 long months later, I was accepted into the Fulbright Austria program, and without the network I made in Bonn, it might never have been possible! It goes to show that just a few people and happy circumstances can have a huge effect on your life! Read more on our blog... Erin Netoskie, Juniata College
My major is Wildlife Conservation, so I was looking for internships that dealt with animals, or just anything biological. EPA found me a great internship with the Biologische Station Bonn/Rhein. They maintain the conservation and nature preserves in and around the Bonn/Rhein-Erft area, which is pretty large. The Station is essential because it is a major component of Bonn's required conservation and preservation management plans. Most of the work was habitat management, which meant a lot of mowing, racking, planting, and weeding. This can get a little monotonous, but I understand the importance of the work, so I didn't mind. Plus you get to see a bunch of different conservation areas and see some wildlife!
For one project, I collected seeds from local native fauna in order to replant natural wild meadows. They call this "Kindheitswiesen" because it's like replanting fields of flowers that only older generations know.
We also did some educational presentations for diverse audience groups. One time I helped with a local "high school" field trip to a stream, and one time I sat in on a presentation for adults and professors. While I was there, Bonn also had their annual Apfelfest, so for a few days we just picked apples and then made apple juice. It was pretty delicious! Heather Wetzel, Juniata College