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Farewell to the Interns of 2019/20!

Farewell to the Interns of 2019/20!

12 June, 2020

The time has come, whereby in usual circumstances, the interns would be packing up their desks and leaving the White Rose Brussels office. Due to the unprecedented circumstances of 2020, the interns are already back in the UK, having completed the final months of their internship from home. Before we all finish, I (Catriona) caught up with the other two interns, Darren and Mariya, to put together an article about our time in Brussels!

Firstly, we would like to thank all of our colleagues across the White Rose Research Consortium for making this internship so special. Particular thanks to Phil, Claire and Jo for all the support, laughs and encouragement along the way.

Catriona

What are your highlights of working at the White Rose Brussels office? 

‘Reflecting back on where I was when I began this internship, I realise how much I’ve learnt in just 9 months. This is largely due to the level of responsibility and trust given to the interns from the get-go, which enabled us to carry out tasks and learn independently, whilst also knowing there was a strong support system if needed, thanks to our brilliant Director, Phil. My highlight has to be my trip to Bucharest in January 2020, to attend the Bologna Process Researchers’ Conference, as part of the research for my policy report on widening participation. Despite initially being completely out of my comfort zone, it allowed me to engage with relevant researchers from across Europe, including members of the European Commission and the Council of Europe. That said, leading the Agrifood event for our 3 Vice-Chancellors has to be up there, and bumping into Farage by the Commission, on the day Boris agreed a Brexit deal with the EU, is definitely a memorable moment!’

Favourite thing about Brussels? 

‘I find Brussels a hard place to explain to people. It isn’t very scenic, it’s grey and I still can’t put my finger on Belgian culture – it feels so distinctly French, Dutch or simply European, depending on where you are and who’s around you. But I think this is what I like most – the plethora of languages, cultures and nationalities you encounter everywhere. There’s also the delicious beers, as well as good music and art happening all the time! It’s a great place to live.’

What’s next for you? 

‘Come September 2020, I’ll remain White Rose as I’ll be starting my MSc in Sustainable Food Systems, at the University of Leeds.’

Darren

What are your highlights of working at the White Rose Brussels office?

‘Whilst this internship has been incredible from start to finish, there are a couple of events that stand out as highlights of my time in Brussels. The first was being able to accompany the Vice-Chancellors of our three universities to a meeting at the European Commission in November, along with our European Public Affairs Director, Dr Phil Holliday, and the Director of the White Rose University Consortium, Dr Craig Walker. The second was being the lead intern in charge of organising our last-ever event hosted by a British MEP in the European Parliament – and building a relationship with Shaffaq Mohammed MEP, who gifted me the flag of Yorkshire on his last day in office, along with Magid Magid MEP!’

Favourite thing about Brussels? 

‘Apart from the wonderful people I’ve met in and around the EU bubble, the thing I will miss most is being able to walk everywhere in Brussels and take in its scenery. Living so close to the Commission and being able to go for a stroll in the iconic Parc du Cinquantenaire near my house, not to mention walking past the European Parliament every day on my walk to work is something I won’t forget. Oh and the prettiness of Sablon, my absolute favourite part of the city…and the evenings spent in St Gilles…and the beers!’

What’s next for you? 

‘For now, I am taking a short break (whilst doing some voluntary work over summer) but I hope to pursue a career in or around the public sector, pushing for a more sustainable and just future.’

Mariya 

What are your highlights of working at the White Rose Brussels office? 

‘Working at the White Rose Brussels Office has been an invaluable experience. The transition from student to staff; representing the university in Brussels, meeting with various stakeholders. The highlight was definitely leading the organisation of the first-ever White Rose Universities joint Alumni event, held in Brussels in November that was attended by the Vice-Chancellors of York, Leeds and Sheffield. Most importantly, the last nine months have been an excellent networking opportunity!’

Favourite thing about Brussels? 

‘Whilst it’s difficult not to love the enchanting views in Brussels from Mont des Arts to Parc du Cinquantenaire, the rich culture of the city has definitely been the highlight for me. I now understand why Brussels is often regarded as the ‘Capital of Europe’. The chance to meet friends from all over the world is a given, not to mention a chance to brush up on your language skills!’

What’s next for you? 

‘I am excited to begin my MSc in International Relations, starting September, at the University of Amsterdam.’

Find our initial introductory article here, to see how far we’ve come.

 

Left to Right: Dr Phil Holliday, Catriona, Darren, Mariya, Claire Pickerden.

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