A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water

Exactly a year ago today, I arrived in Brussels, apprehensive, hesitant but most of all excited about beginning an internship for one of the world’s largest communications agencies. It is true to say that in the early days I had officially landed in hot water; new job, new country and ridiculously high heels on the infamous Brussels’ cobble stones, my first few days at Fleishman-Hillard are probably better described as a balancing act. However, things very quickly began to fall into place and after an eventful and adrenaline-filled twelve months, (an office party on a boat, a moment or two stuck in an elevator and an office ‘fire’ included) I can hardly believe that my first episode in Brussels and my year at Fleishman must draw to a close. It has been an unforgettable year and an incomparable experience that I would recommend to anyone seeking professional experience in the public affairs sphere.  There are too many things to write in a blog post about exactly why I have enjoyed my time here so much so I have decided to dedicate this blog to the top 3. 

  1. Being an important part of the team.

An internship at Fleishman does not fall into society’s stereotypical view of an undergraduate intern. Believe me when I say that your tasks will not involve making coffees for your senior colleagues or spending days attached to the photocopier. Although there may well be times when you become better acquainted with the coffee machine than anyone either inside or outside of the office. From very early days you are trusted with client work, invited to brain storms and relied upon. Working as an intern for Fleishman is unlike any internship I’ve ever heard people speak of, you are an important part of the team and your contributions are valid. This really provides an opportunity to get more involved with your clients, develop a passion for their issues and make an impression on your colleagues.  

  1. Sense of achievement

 Working for Fleishman gives you a real sense of achievement. I have been fortunate enough to receive the support and encouragement of some of the most inspirational people I have ever met. It is thanks to this support that I have striven to continually make the most out of this opportunity in every way possible. I have been proud to work for Fleishman-Hillard and I am proud of the things that I have accomplished. From making the Christmas party 2011 at least a 4-month mission, to becoming perhaps a little too obsessed with the issue of women on corporate boards, to jointly presenting a ‘How to’ session, I am walking away from this year with a new wave of confidence. 

  1. The People 

Perhaps the most fantastic thing of all this year is just how great   the people at Fleishman are. I never imagined that the people here would not only be so talented and scarily good at what they do, but that they would also hold some of the greatest personalities that I have known. The atmosphere in this office is unparalleled! My year at Fleishman has been so much more than just an internship, it has become a way of life that I have become incredibly fond of and dedicated to. I will never forget the kindness, humour and support of all of the people in this office. 

365 days later… 

I still looked forward to coming into work this morning, excited at the thought of facing a few final challenges and grasping the opportunity to spend a final few hours working on issues that I have become so deeply passionate about. I have enjoyed spending one more day working with colleagues who are inspirational on so many different levels; their expertise, knowledge, enthusiasm and constant desire to achieve the very best. I am fully aware that I am incredibly lucky to have spent a year surrounded by people of this calibre, who have always been so willing to dedicate their time and to share their knowledge with me.  There are few people who at twenty-one can say that they have been this fortunate and I am grateful to Fleishman for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.

To all of those who I have had the pleasure of working with, I hope you will recover from the exhaustion of dealing with a years worth of never-ending energy. However, most of all, I would like to thank you for your inspiration, your kindness and your time.

I could not have had a more valuable, or more enjoyable year and I am going to miss you all a lot. 

Emma Cracknell