For the past two weeks, Project Rousseau scholars Kiara and Victoria have been interning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. An opportunity like this doesn’t come along every day, and our students have been taking full advantage of the unique learning experience it offers. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve also been having a great time along the way!
Every morning, the interns meet at a café before heading into Parliament together. The day begins with a trip to the Infocenter, where they can see all the agenda items for the day. They have the freedom to attend whatever committee meetings they please, allowing them to tailor their learning to their own interests. At lunchtime, the interns reconvene, taking the opportunity to discuss the morning’s meetings with each other, or just shoot the breeze. Then it’s off to more committees in the afternoon.
According to Victoria, the most interesting part of the internship has been learning about what politicians actually do. “Politicians are like celebrities in the US,” she observes, “while the meetings themselves were usually pretty interesting, I found it entrancing to look at the MEPs, and to try to understand their actual role in government and these meetings.”
Of course, it’s not all work and no play. Despite their busy schedule, our interns have managed to find time to explore Brussels and discover its cultural and artistic treasures. A typical outing might include a promenade down one of Brussels’ many beautiful parks and a trip to a world-famous museum, such as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium. Victoria has even discovered a particular interest in modernist art: “I learned a lot about Magritte and Mondrian, and I just really enjoyed that,” she enthuses.
The European Parliament internship in Brussels perfectly illustrates why Project Rousseau emphasizes “Broadening Horizons” as one of its four pillars, as exposing our students to new cultures and careers encourages them to aim higher and reach their full potential.