Intern from January to April 2016.
I am a student at Humboldt University of Berlin. An internship in a British institution is an essential part of my programme, MA in British Studies. As I was performing better in the policy-related subjects, I chose the Cardiff European Documentation Centre (EDC) as the place for my internship.
Another reason which influenced my decision was a meeting with placement providers, held by the Centre for British Studies. There, I had an opportunity to talk to students from my programme who have already completed their placements and Mr Ian Thomson, the director of the EDC. Also, I always wanted to visit Cardiff.
My first working day started with a detailed introduction to the organisation of the EDC and my responsibilities. I was to check updates of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union websites on a daily basis and index them for ESO (European Sources Online). This task provided me with insights into the EU institutions' activities and improved my European Union political awareness.
In addition, I was given several background tasks related to Russia. I was amending the Russian version of the Europe on the Internet information guide and revising Russian and English versions of the information guide on Russia. As I hold a BA in Linguistics from Russia, the latter task was very useful and important to me, as it let me apply my knowledge of the theory and translation skills I obtained during my bachelor studies. Moreover, I was happy to share my knowledge of Russia by enlarging the collection of sources gathered by previous Russian-speaking interns.
During my placement, I attended and participated in events organised by the EDC, namely EU Careers and What Europe Means to Me, where I had a chance to share my opinion and thoughts on current affairs in Europe, meet new people and enjoy small talk with European experts and professionals.
What I liked about the EDC and its permanent staff members most of all was a gradual manner of presenting new tasks and a desire to teach their interns. Ian, Frederico and Ceri were always happy to answer questions or help in solving difficulties in the working process. The friendly environment created by the staff members allowed me to deal with tasks, even the challenging ones, without feeling nervous.
My life in Cardiff was full of pleasant moments. I was renting a private room, sharing a common space with my hosts who gave me a warm welcome and helped me find new friends. Together we supported the Welsh national rugby team several times and visited a Burns night event where we were taught to dance.
I was absolutely fascinated by the city of Cardiff. I discovered many wonderful places such as Cardiff Castle, National Museum, Doctor Who Experience and Cardiff Bay. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and clubs for any budget. Thanks to the city’s good transport links, I managed to travel across the United Kingdom: I took trips to London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
All in all, I can say I am completely satisfied with my placement at the Cardiff EDC, as it helped me to significantly enhance my computer skills, extend my knowledge of the EU, improve my English, explore the UK and become more confident. I am sure that the experience I gained through working at the EDC will be useful for writing my master's thesis and furthering my career prospects. I could not dream of a better first-time visit to an English-speaking country!
I thank Ian, Frederico and Ceri from the bottom of my heart for opening the doors of the Cardiff EDC to me and recommend it for everyone!