A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
In the beginning of September many new students are arriving in The Hague and Leiden to start their Bachelors or Masters; others are coming back from their holidays and others again have to leave the cities; either because they have graduated or for a semester abroad. I am one of these students this year.
Bye, bye The Hague! I will see you soon again!
I am a 3rd year student of International Studies at Leiden University and for our 5th semester a discretionary space is planned, in which the students can do a minor, study abroad or do an internship. I chose the latter, because I think that doing an internship during my studies gives me a great opportunity to gain work experiences and hopefully will help me to decide what I want to do after I finished my studies.
In order to do an internship in the discretionary space of International Studies, students have to attend the course “Organizational Theory and Behavior” (OTB) in their 4th semester. These lectures are meant to prepare for the work in an organization and help understanding how to get the most of the traineeship.
Having finished the course successfully, I was now able to start my internship. About a week ago, I moved to Brussels, where I am now working at the “Landesvertretung Bremens in Brüssel”. The “Landesvertretung” is a governmental organization that represents my home state´s interest in European and international institutions, its employees are further assessing EU decisions made in Brussels that are relevant for Bremen, which are then analyzed and reported to the Senate and its departments. A very interesting job!
My workplace, with the European flag and “Speck” emblem (Bremen´s flag)
My first week was full of new experiences; I went to many meetings and events, where I listed to speeches, debates, and presentations. I also had the chance to meet politicians and economists I have only known from the news, and now I was able to have discussions with them or they would answer my questions. I am excited what the coming weeks will bring!
At a conference on which politicians and business men were discussing how to make European cities more active. #EUweekofSports
Alongside the work at my internship I will have to write a research paper, which has to be handed in 8 weeks after I finished my internship.
I also need to finish two OTB assignments that are meant to help me understand the institution I am working in as well as its organizational structure and culture. Lastly, I also have two weeks after my internship has ended to hand in an internship report, in which I reflect on my work, the initially set up internship objectives, my personal development during the internship period and how the internship stands in relation with my plans for my career or possible master programs.
Don’t be put off by the extra work you have to do! Because, despite the high workload during this time, I am sure that doing an internship will be very beneficial. Therefore, I also want to encourage second year students of International Studies, or anyone who has time during their studies, to take the chance and do an internship.
Internships are a great way of either deepening your knowledge about a topic you are already familiar or you can work with something entirely new. Especially when you are applying for jobs after the graduation, such work experience will be very valuable.