Wednesday 2 November 2011: a significant and anticipated day in my diary for two reasons. Not only did this day mark the fact that I have been working for Fleishman-Hillard for exactly two months, but it also marked the milestone of my 21st Birthday.
Taking both of these events into account, now seems like a great time to expose the true thoughts of an overly keen intern entering the manic world of public affairs. In the hope that I still have an internship after this, here goes…
The day before I arrived in Brussels two distant months ago, I left bewildered and highly confused friends behind asking the same questions that they have always asked me; something along the lines of ‘What is wrong with you’? They justify this accusation, this time at least, with three core reasons: I am coming to Brussels to undertake a full time job in public affairs. Although I’m 100% sure that most of them don’t know what public affairs (or the EU for that matter) is. As they packed their sombreros, beach towels and a bottle of ‘England’s finest Spanish Sangria’ (I mean really?) for a year of Erasmus in Valencia, I packed my suits, a pair of high heels (or two) and a pink pencil case. I got on a plane that morning, the small business jet type where you are surrounded by highly important looking people and therefore try not to even breathe too loudly, and not once have I looked back.
So the question is, how do I explain to my sun soaking friends on a beach in Valencia just how fantastic this decision was, and that actually, my judgment of the ‘year abroad’ in my opinion, was without a doubt the best. This is where my 21st Birthday would fall into my explanation; I genuinely felt that there was nowhere else I’d rather be on this day than doing a job that I’ve fallen in love with and working in a truly unique office that I feel privileged to be a part of.
So how has this happened so quickly?
Yes, I have a very small tendency to be over enthusiastic about everything but my diagnosis of this situation is, I believe, justified.
Something that a job advertisement could never tell you about is the truly exceptional atmosphere of the office. I am surrounded by people who are clearly experts and completely dedicated to what they do yet this is magnificently combined with good humour and a great spirit and this hits you as soon as you walk through the office door. Additionally, I am fortunate enough to work amongst an impressive range of nationalities which I am informed is particularly unique to the Brussels office. It would be hard not to enjoy working in this office.
In the past two months I have learnt more than I ever did in my past two years at University. I have been involved in organizing and attending events (Christmas party included), I’ve discovered that things such as ‘logistics’ are actually relatively interesting topics and I’ve even had the opportunity to visit the Paris Office for a day. I now tweet about everything (within reason) and I am genuinely committed to Renovating Europe and the 3% pledge. I am even going to have a go at being on the FH football team. The pace is fast and every day is different and it actually keeps me occupied; being someone with an uncontrollable amount of energy, this has always been a particularly difficult task.
So all in all, I would recommend this internship at Fleishman to anyone that would ask me about it. I would probably tell them that yes the job is hard work and yes sometimes it can get a little difficult, but I would also tell them that it is beyond rewarding and that this opportunity is absolutely incomparable. The job is exciting, the people are fabulous, there is an office band, the coffee machine isn’t half bad, there always seems to be cake in the kitchen and for me, it is a great position to be in when you really care about what you do.
I had a 21st Birthday that I will never forget and my fingers are crossed that I enjoy the next eight months just as much as I have enjoyed the previous two. Perhaps I’ll write a sum up article at the end of my internship year in June and compare the two…!