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This is personal

Is there life after a stage?

I have never been a trainee. Like many of us I “had” to do a stage when I was at university, but, as at that time I was already working, my working place also became my “stage” place. Not that it is a bad thing.. It was just that way things were. However I feel that I have never experienced the life that I see our trainees have – entering a totally different world, for most of them – in a totally different country, and enjoying it fully. Making new friends from all over the world and introducing everyone to their world.

What I wanted to know was how they saw this experience. And what were the next steps for them, what were the next adventures that they had embarked upon. That is why one day I sent out an email to all the trainees that we’ve had since I’ve worked in WebComm and received quite a few answers.

Here come their stories, all of which tell me that if you have a chance to do a stage outside your country, you should go for it. It makes you see the world from a different perspective.

 Lelde

 After getting married couple of months ago, she is continuing her path in private business. Her traineeship was a way of deciding whether she would like to work in a governmental institution or take the road of the private sector. She chose the latter and has not regretted that (that is not to say that she didn’t like being with us, of course… :)

For her the traineeship had the beauty of relationships: the people she had her traineeship together with and also the WebCommers, the moments shared were full of laughter, conversations, creativity and hard work. She said that even now the first thought she has in the mind when she thinks of us, is that WebComm has organized a surprise goodbye breakfast in a nearby coffee shop.

(ed. here’s a great post Lelde co-wrote about being a trainee in the Parliament published on the day she left.)

Roberta

She is Italian. She has red hair. And she can get into places when even experienced journalists could not and get that interview that nobody else got…Now she lives in Australia and is a freelance journalist. Just after the traineeship she got married (the proposal was done during her traineeship. Just like with Lelde, actually) and her husband was moving to Australia, so she moved together with him.

She wrote that: “the internship was very important to me and it allowed me to see how the EP works. In another life – without any Australian planning – I would have tried with all my efforts to stay there, maybe working for some politician as Brussels is a sort of heaven for journalists. You don’t have to move around following people or stories, because they are the ones coming to Brussels by themselves.”
 
 
 
 
Ivana
  

 She is Slovak and gave us all (or at least some of us) nicknames (some of them are still stuck, by the way). After she left Brussels she got a job in Slovak Marketing Agency working on sports events, organizing them and taking care of VIP people such as: Anna Kournikova, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and others and aiming to climb the career stairs in this area.

The traineeship has helped her to realize how important the social environment at work is, how important it is to have equality, respect and other crucial working values.
 
She is not saying that she’ll stay in Bratislava for ever. She is instead open to all kind of future possibilities.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
 
 
Chiara
  

Half Dutch speaking Belgian, half Italian, fluent in at least 4 languages, Chiara is now living in Burundi and working for the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), as a junior assistant in Bujumbura. This was a choice made even before the traineeship in the Parliament, so the two have nothing to do to each other.

However, she said that “she has realised in what a luxury situation she was working in the WebComm. All the coordination, fluid cooperation among colleagues and leading capacities of a boss(es) are non-existant in Bujumbura.  That makes working life quite difficult, and my patience sometimes exploding.

I try to cheer up myself by thinking “it’s all part of a learning process”. However, I don’t always succeed. In short, please treasure your unit and keep it dynamic and enthusiastic like I found it!”

 
 
 
 
 
 
  
Dan
 

When Dan was leaving us, our editorial coordinator Thibault was sure that we don’t have to worry about him. And he was absolutely right. Dan had got tired of being “just” a journalist –  12 years have been enough for him. So, he invented a new occupation for himself which was hiding under a name “Media Strategic Consultant” (he is full of ideas, indeed) which in practice meant that he offered fresh ideas on how to catch media attention (being a journalist helps a bit, I guess…) 
He had no plans to go back to Brussels and yet one day he was offered to do so. Now Dan is back with us in WebComm (a fact that he loves) but only now his title is “social media producer”. Fancy, right? He says that the title alone in the social media world has put him on a level where he is getting invited to all kind of groups, forums and places where the conversation takes place. But above that he is happy to be a part of the WebComm again.

(ed. Interested in Dan’s back story? We loved this post he wrote during his traineeship) 

 

Rafaela

As the first thing Rafaela mentioned that she remembered how persistent she had to be to get the traineeship- her application was not accepted twice and only the 3rd time had the lucky charm. Rafaela was in the WebComm in the period when the 2009 European Parliament’s elections took place and she feels happy that she was there when the EP started using the social media platforms as she is a strong believer in “informing the citizens about their rights and opportunities in order to increase the level of conscientious participation in civil society”. 

Rafaela says that: “Translating complex EU policy jargon into a form that the “common citizen” understands brought altruistic rewards. But after this experience it was clear to me that I wanted to stay in Brussels! Portugal is nice, I know… once you “taste” this “European-multicultural-life-and-work-style-atmosphere” it is difficult to ever turn back … So, here I am… still in Brussels and working for a political communications consultancy as a Senior Consultant in Media Relations.  My career is already reaping the rewards for the experience that I had.”

 
 
 
 
Lyuben
 

Self-Presentation Tweet: Lyubo Tyulekov, an ex WebComm trainee, last year law student. 

After the end of the traineeship he went back to the academic life in the Netherlands – “back to school, back to reality”, as a friend of his likes to say. Lyuben says that “the time spent in the Parliament… gave me the chance to meet a lot of new and interesting people, work in an international environment, but most importantly – get more familiar with the decision making process at a European level from inside, something every European law student (like me) would get pleasure from.” 

In a “self-presentation” blog that I published more than a year ago I wrote that it was a matter of honour and privilege for me to be part of … the Parliament and a cool, fresh unit like Web Communication. Now, almost one and a half year later, I completely stay by my words!”

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