Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Brussels

What is VIE-Brussels?

The Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Brussels is an unique opportunity for Vanderbilt students to gain an experience and understanding of the European Union through internships and supplemental programming. Students will participate in a two month internship with leading international organizations in Brussels. The internship includes academic lectures and seminars, a battlefield tour and on-going career advice for aspiring young professionals.

The EU experience will go beyond an analysis of formal competencies and decision-making procedures and look behind the scenes to discover what really determines the course of EU policies: which actors have the real power and influence, which networks and coalitions are formed, which interests are at stake, how are they balanced, how do member states and European institutions interact.

 

Beyond an Internship

During their internship, students will spend one day per week with the University of Kent for a series of guest lectures, seminars and debates delivered by academics, policy-makers, diplomats and European civil servants.  Each week (6 weeks) will have a specific theme, for example ‘Europe and the Global Economic Crisis’, Britain and Europe’, ‘Europe and Emerging Powers’, ‘EU-China and EU-US Relations’, ‘Visas, Borders and Global Mobility’, or ‘The Future of Nato’; these themes are currently in development and as soon as the curriculum is ready, it will be posted on this website.  As part of the experience, and instead of one of the guest lectures, there will be a history component that will include a tour of World War I battlefields, such as Langemark, Tyne Cot, Hill 60, Ypres and the Menin Gate.  There will also be two dinners to which senior policy-makers, business leaders and diplomats will be invited so that students can interact and network with them in a social context.

Students will also have the opportunity to spend a day involved in a series of interactive career advice workshops designed to help prepare themselves for the job market and their internship. Topics will include helping students look at themselves critically, evaluating their strengths, values, interests, skills, so that they can then embark on a successful job-hunt; perfecting their CV for the international and European markets; interview tips and tricks; understanding the art of networking and advice on how to get the most out of an internship.

 

Internship Possibilities

The Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Brussels, provides students with 8-week internships with leading agencies, public offices and organizations in the heart of Europe and the European Union. In Brussels there are more lobbyists than anywhere else in the world, making it a very important hub of political activity. Europeans come to Brussels to work for the numerous European associations, lobbying offices, NGOs, regional offices and media organisations. An internship in Brussels means highly valued learning and work experience.

1.  EU COMMUNICATION

The aim of these internships is to provide students with a 360 degree view of how a political communication agency works.  The work here varies from administration (i.e. collation of information for business development proposals) to creation (i.e. layout of publication materials) and from external relations (i.e. liaising with external experts and partner) to research (i.e. identifying trends in communication, advertising and PR).

Example EU Communication Positions:

MostraGeneral Electric Communications Department Voice (social media) – VO

Example: Mostra is an all-round communication agency specialising in helping European institutions and other international organisations to raise awareness about their policies and actions. To help students gain a 360 degree view of how an agency works, interns will have the opportunity over the course of the internship to work for other departments such as public relations, events and commercial teams.

The day-to-day responsibilities of an intern would be:

Administration:

  • Departmental organisation and administration tasks, including maintenance of content libraries
  • Preparation and collection of CVs and other administrative information for business development proposals
  • Layout work using MS Office

Creation:

  • Coordination with graphic studios for the creation and layout of booklets, leaflets and promotional material

External relations:

  • Liaising with external experts, sub-contractors and partner agencies across Europe and beyond
  • Assisting with company promotional activities

Research:

  • Carrying out research and compiling information in regards to various European policy fields
  • Trend watching in relevant fields such as communication, advertising and PR

Blogging

  • Coordinating and feeding agency`s internal platform with sector relevant information in regards to communication trends, inspirational case studies and best practices

 

2.  NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

These internships vary hugely according to the type of NGO but in most cases the type of work involves looking for new funding opportunities, analyzing calls for proposals, helping with compilation of newsletters, conducting research, preparing fact sheets, preparing for meetings as well as undertaking some administrative tasks such as helping with the logistics for events.

Example NGO Positions:

World VisionWWFRed Cross Belgium

Example: World Vision European Union Liaison Office (EULO) based in Brussels serves to interact with the European Union (EU) and to facilitate the link of the international partnership of World Vision with the EU institutions.

The day-to-day responsibilities of an intern would be:

The intern would support the programming department. Core tasks include checking new funding opportunities and analysing calls for proposals, helping with compilation of the monthly newsletter, some research tasks as well as various administrative tasks (e.g. helping with logistics for events).


3.  THINK DO-TANKS

Here we are targeting amongst others an immigration think tank where the intern would assist in the preparation of a publication on European immigration policies as well as working on the presentation of qualitative and quantitative data on research carried out on all EU Member States. Again the tasks very according to the think tank but mostly involve research work.  Do-tanks also organize debates, hence assistance with the identification of stakeholders and their invitation as well as involvement in logistical tasks may be required.

Example Think do-tanks Positions:

Migration Policy GroupFriends of EuropeSecurity and Defence Agenda

1. Migration Policy Group

The Migration Policy Group is an independent European think-tank working on Migration & Mobility; Anti-discrimination & Equality; and Integration & Diversity issues. Re-posts ≠ endorsement. MPG stimulates well-informed European policy debate, cooperation and action to achieve this goal in the three programme areas of Migration & Mobility; Anti-discrimination & Equality; and Diversity & Integration. MPG takes a consistent and dynamic approach to all three inter-related programmes,

The day-to-day responsibilities of an intern would be:

  • The intern would assist MPG in preparing a publication on European immigration policies.
  • The intern would work in particular on the presentation of qualitative and quantitative data for which the research covering all EU Member States has been completed.

Candidates should have good knowledge of immigration policies and law and good drafting skills. They should also have good data visualization skills and a sense of design.

2. Friends of Europe & Security and Defence Agenda

Friends of Europe – Les amis de l’Europe is a leading think-tank that aims to stimulate thinking on key global and European political challenges. Our insightful and timely publications and animated debates provide access to sharp analysis and information. We promote the confrontation of ideas that is vital to policymaking and encourage wider involvement in Europe’s future. We are the EU think-tank with a difference. We make Europe’s policy choices lively and relevant to people outside the ‘charmed circle’ of Brussels-based specialists, in our debates and our publications. For more information visit www.friendsofeurope.org

The Security & Defence Agenda (SDA) is Brussels’ only dedicated security and defence think-tank. The SDA raises awareness by anticipating the political agenda and focusing attention on European and transatlantic policy challenges related to security and defence. Its activities include roundtables, lunch and evening debates, policymakers’ dinners, international conferences and a range of publications. The SDA brings together experts and policymakers from the EU institutions, NATO, national governments, industry, the media, think-tanks, academia and NGOs. This diversity, and a reputation for thought-provoking debate, has kept the SDA at the heart of the defence and security community. For more info: www.securitydefenceagenda.org

Internship profiles

The internship could be more event-oriented or more research-oriented.

For the event intern`s duties & responsibilities will include:

  • support in updating the list of stakeholders
  • help with a broad range of communication and marketing tasks
  • administrative work
  • assist in the preparation of an event, a debate

For the research intern`s duties & responsibilities will include:

  • gather information for updates of the website and newsletters
  • help prepare fact sheets
  • assist with a broad range of content related tasks

Intern profile

The successful candidate for the event-oriented internship should have the following requirements:

  • have an interest in EU policy
  • organisational skills
  • hands-on and pragmatic, persistent and flexible
  • good written and oral skills
  • flexibility and autonomy
  • other languages an asset
  • be a team player, take responsibility

The successful candidate for the research-oriented internship should have the following requirements:

  • have an interest in EU policy
  • good written and oral skills and eye for detail
  • assist with publications, proofreading and editing
  • research for fact sheets
  • flexibility and autonomy
  • other languages an asset


4.  GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

These internships allow students to get an idea of how companies represent their interests before EU institutions and other stakeholders at the EU level.  The intern would support the teams responsible for evaluating government relations initiatives, planning and developing key strategies, and implementing actions vis-à-vis EU institutions and regulatory agencies in a wide range of areas including international trade, energy, healthcare, financial services, environmental regulations, and intellectual property.

Example Government Relations Positions:

NIKE

Lead and coordinate company`s government relations and policy initiatives in Europe, with a particular focus on the EU. Responsible to set strategy, drive company government relations projects, and advise the Nike businesses on a broad range of European legislative and policy issues. Represent company`s interests before EU institutions and other stakeholders at the EU level. The day-to-day responsibilities of an intern would be:

  • Support European government relations teams in evaluating government relations initiatives, planning and developing key strategies, and implementing actions vis-à-vis EU institutions and regulatory agencies in a wide range of areas including international trade, energy, healthcare, financial services, environmental regulations, and intellectual property.
  • Coordinate with corporate leadership globally, businesses and European national executives on the development of positions on various issues, implementation of government relations/policy projects.
  • Influence across company businesses and the various constituents to develop and gain buy-in for company`s position on policy and projects.
  • Build capacity with senior European policy makers and influencers.
  • Provide expert advice on the workings of the EU institutions and EU decision-making procedures.

 

5. EVENTS

The event internship allows for involvement in international project management in high profile and political events. The list of tasks in event preparation is vast and goes from adding information on the event website, the invitation and registration of participants, writing an event scenario and hostesses briefing to active involvement onsite during the event at the welcome desk or in the plenary room.

Example Events Positions:

Destrée Organisation

Destrée Organisation offers more than 50 years of excellence in the meetings industry based on continuous development and a true service minded, young and results driven team. Their clients are international institutions and associations, federal and regional authorities and corporate businesses.

The day-to-day responsibilities of an intern would be:

  • Active role in the invitation and registration process
  • Editing information tools such as the programme, the list of participants, signposting, badges and quality check
  • Organise travel for speakers, liaise with the travel agency
  • Assist in the preparation of a briefing for the hostesses
  • Coordinate external contractors
  • Assist in client meetings
  • Onsite assistance during an event at the registration area or in the plenary room


6. ASSOCIATIONS (NGO & RESEARCH SECTOR)

NGO associations allow the interns to be involved in key tasks such as research and communication work. Preparatory research for the drafting of fact sheets, updating websites and other communication and advocacy tools.  Reaching out to association members and active involvement in the preparation of events and meetings complete the list.

Example Association of NGOs Positions:

European Network Against RacismEuropean Network of Migrant Women

The European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW) is a network of feminist migrant women associations and national platforms, currently active in 16 of the 28 European Union’s Member States, advocating for the equal rights, equal treatment and better integration outcomes for migrant women at the European level. Currently our activities are mostly on the topic of access to employment for migrant women. We are seeking an intern to support the Coordinator on a flexible part-time basis (this can be arranged around the intern’s needs and the coordinator’s schedule). Our intern needs to have a keen interest in migrant integration issues, a committed understanding that gender-neutral migration policies put migrant women at a disadvantage, and adaptability/patience with the “fledgling” nature of ENoMW’s day-to-day structural operations. An ideal intern would also have a sound knowledge of WordPress and solid Microsoft Office skills.

The day-to-day responsibilities of an intern would be:

  • A few days of initial basic administration/filing infrastructure support
  • Completing reconstruction of the ENoMW website by uploading content onto new WordPress site
  • Helping create and put together an ENoMW newsletter
  • Representing ENoMW at relevant events in Brussels that the coordinator is unable to attend
  • Helping put together advocacy tools
  • Putting together a news digest
  • Assisting in communicating to network members
  • Occasionally sitting in on (Skype-based) board/working group meetings, taking and disseminating minutes.
  • Writing up event notes and constructing into coherent narrative for wider dissemination among the network.


7. INSTITUTIONS

European Parliament Internships in the office a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) involve working closely with the MEP’s Political Assistant.  Students will gain a valuable insight into the workings of the European Union, ranging from routine office tasks to the intricacies of the Brussels decision-making processes. Traveling to Strasbourg for the plenary sessions may be possible but is not guaranteed.

Example Institution Positions:

European ParliamentBrussels Europe Liaison Office

Generally, interns will work very closely with the MEP’s Assistant (which is not the “Secretary”), and much less so with the MEP.

The work primarily consists of everyday dealings in an MEP’s office, such as:

  • Answering the phone and opening mail
  • Working closely with the MEP’s assistant and his or her office in their home district
  • Attending political meetings in Parliamentary Committees
  • Writing minutes
  • Working on ad hoc projects, such as drafting memos or conducting a small research project of interest to your MEP

By the end of the internship, students should gain valuable insight into the workings of the European Union, ranging from routine office tasks to the intricacies of Brussels’ decision-making processes. Traveling to Strasbourg for a parliamentary session with your MEP may be possible but is not guaranteed.

 

8. FOUNDATIONS

Example Foundation Positions:

Foundation for European Sustainable Tourism

The Foundation for European Sustainable Tourism (FEST) aims to support governments, academies and organisations to plan, deliver and manage tourism programs and projects with sustainability. It focuses on three key factors for tourism success and competitiveness: governance, leadership and management. FEST promotes “Project Management for Sustainable Development” (PM4SD®) as best management practice for sustainable tourism. PM4SD is a project management methodology, based on PRINCE2, developed to design and implement tourism projects with sustainability in order to create long term benefits for destinations and local communities. FEST wishes concretely contributes to the Europe2020 growth’s strategy through the dissemination of PM4SD® methodology and the support to innovative and competitive sustainable projects. For more information visit www.festfoundation.eu.

Internship profile

The intern duties & responsibilities will include:

  • support in updating the list of stakeholders and journalists
  • help with a broad range of communication and marketing tasks
  • administrative work
  • assist in the preparation of an event, the European Summer School “Leadership and Governance for Sustainable Tourism”
  • take meeting notes
  • research work
  • participation to public events

Intern profile

The successful candidate should have the following requirements:

  • have an interest in EU policy
  • good written and oral skills
  • flexibility and autonomy
  • other languages an asset
  • eye for detail

 

Program Objectives

  1. Develop a better understanding of career opportunities and field(s) of interest, as well as the world of international work at large
  2. Develop the ability to establish appropriate working relationships with other professionals and utilize mentoring and networking to strengthen one’s ability to connect with a wide array of individuals; communicate effectively in a variety of settings and in times of conflict
  3. Examine individual strengths and weaknesses of one’s own views and perspectives in relation to differing views and perspectives, and maintain respect and support for diverse understandings
  4. Deepen ones understanding of “service” as a compound concept and how it may assimilate into one’s future personal and professional trajectory and worldview
  5. Gain a greater understanding of the European political structure, the European Union (EU) and its member countries, service and development in the EU, and the EU’s influence on and in modern society
  6. Advance one’s personal and professional development and heighten critical thinking, as outlined in additional sections below; learn how to set specific goals and navigate competing priorities
  7. Competence in international travel and communication; living and working in an international setting; understanding diversity outside of the US

 

Partners

In partnership with the Center for Student Professional Development, OACS Internship Opportunities will delve into professional preparation, including CV development, interview skills, and capitalizing on strategic internships. For more information about the Center for Student Professional Development, visit their website at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/career/.

Questions?

For questions regarding the Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Brussels contact Christine Drasba: christine.e.drasba@vanderbilt.edu

Apply!

Application Requirements:

  1. Resume and cover letter
  2. Academic Transcript
  3. Minimum GPA of 3.0
  4. 2 letters of recommendation
  5. Writing Sample
  6. Online application submission

2013 APPLICATIONS DUE NOVEMBER 8TH.

The application form for the Brussels Internship opportunity can be found HERE.

Brussels 2014 Financial Aid Form