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A premature goodbye to the European Parliament

All things come to an end, even the good ones, and sometimes sooner than expected.

When I first set foot in the European Parliament two months ago, I knew I was going to call it my workplace for the next four months. I wandered through the massive buildings, occasionally getting lost, knowing I would have enough time to eventually learn my way around.

But just a few weeks after I moved to Brussels, a vacancy for a job that had my name written all over it popped up.

I applied, knowing that my future self would despise me for not even trying - because nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Some weeks, two interviews and an intense assessment task later, I got a call. I was having lunch with a friend in Malta, she told me my phone was vibrating. Minutes later I sat there in euphoria and disbelief; after having assessed 100 applications, they would be more than happy if I could join the team!

While this job is everything I wanted, the European Parliament is the reason I moved to Brussels. I planned to do my traineeship, find a job or internship and travel in summer, and start a master's at the Free University of Brussels. Maybe, if I was lucky, I’d be able to find an exciting job after that.

But as usual, life happened while I was making plans, and I accidentally ended up where I hoped I would be in about two years' time. I’ll save the details for when I actually start working (Monday!), but I can tell you I am more than excited.

My time at the EP has been short but worthwhile. The more I did, the more I realise I made the right decision studying communications and international relations. Working on complex topics while communicating interesting bits to wider audiences is exactly what I love to do.

I spent my time writing op-eds and press releases, but also doing research and working on actual policy (!). Cyrus Engerer is part of the most interesting committees: on the environment, public health, women’s rights, and civil liberties, and every meeting and conference I’ve attended was beyond interesting.

I also realised how lucky I was to work with Cyrus, who is very down-to-earth and open to everybody’s input. Though I was just a trainee, he would always take the time to listen to my thoughts and ask for our opinions. Speaking to trainees and assistants in other parties, that isn’t always the case in the EU bubble.

And maybe it’s the EU bubble itself that is my main takeaway from working here. The people, the institutions, the grey city - it’s a particular vibe. You can tell from the way someone dresses to which party they belong and you know that at least half of the MEPs have gone to the prestigious College of Europe. Small talk isn’t about the weather, but about the national politics of different European countries and the latest news from the institutions.

Books could be (and have been) written about the EU bubble and Brussels’ very political culture, and I’m glad I got to experience that. Especially as a journalist, you need to know the practicalities of the world you write about. You need to have the insiders’ info.

So while I wish it would’ve lasted longer, I got out of it what I wanted - a better understanding of how the EU and the European Parliament function, learning what an MEP does, and getting a glimpse of the EU in practice.

And with that in my pocket, I can’t wait to start my new job. The EP was an amazing learning experience, and who knows - I might be back one day. But for now, I’m moving on. I’ll keep you posted on it all!



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