Internship report: Beatrice Emanuele12 October 2015
My name is Beatrice Emanuele, I come from Florence, Italy, and I am a European Studies student at King’s College London. I arrived in June for a three-month internship at the Cardiff European Documentation Centre, and was warmly greeted by the EDC team as well as by the Welsh weather, which allowed for quite a few days of sun and blue skies.
Upon my arrival I was already familiar with the main areas of Cardiff, and was happy about being able to work there because it is a great university city that is geared towards student life and activities. The main reason I chose to do an internship at the Cardiff EDC, however, was the possibility of working in a European Documentation Centre and learning about how it operates from the inside.
The Cardiff EDC belongs to a wider network of Europe Direct centres, which are present across Europe and which were created by the European Commission to provide the general public with access to information on the European Union and official EU publications. There are two main types of local centres: information centres and documentation centres. I was particularly interested in the role played by EDCs as they are primarily linked to the academic world and can provide in-depth material for students and researchers. My choice was equally influenced by the desire to develop my professional skills and enhance my CV, and interning at the Cardiff EDC not only enabled me to do that, but also gave me the opportunity to pursue my personal interest in European Union politics.
One of the benefits of the experience was being able to work alongside other interns, particularly Lisa from Germany, Sedef from Turkey and Roberta from Italy, in a very multicultural environment. The EDC staff, composed of director Ian Thomson, Fred and Ceri, were extremely kind and helpful, guiding me and teaching me all there is to know. It was very important for me to be able to interact with everyone both on a professional and on a personal level- whether it meant discussing current affairs with Ian or following everyone around with my questions!
As an intern, I was fortunate to carry out a variety of different tasks throughout the three months. In addition to sitting at the enquiry desk and interacting with the public, I was able to update and translate into French and Italian a number of information guides published by the EDC. This proved to be a very informative activity, as I worked on a number of guides concerning citizens’ rights in the European Union as well as on a guide on the European Parliament and one on the United Kingdom. I was also able to pick up many good tips on researching and finding information online.
Overall, the responsibility I enjoyed the most was that of updating the Cardiff EDC’s online database on European information, known as ESO – European Sources Online. The aim of ESO is to provide up-to-date facts and figures on the European Union and Europe as a whole. Interns are charged with monitoring the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, and with creating online records for ESO based on the latest press releases issued by the institutions. Working on ESO definitely helped me consolidate my knowledge on policy-making in the EU, and it was extremely interesting to gain in-depth expertise on some of the most critical topics that were making the headlines of the news.
In my free time, I explored Cardiff and met many interesting people from all over the world- which ultimately resulted in eating a lot of delicious food at international dinners or restaurants! I became particularly fond of going to run or read in some of the city’s beautiful parks, such as Bute Park and Roath Park – where you can go rowing in the lake on nice days. On the weekends, I was lucky to travel and take day trips to London, Bristol, Bath and the very lovely city of Wells, the smallest city in England. One of the places nearby Cardiff which I really loved visiting was Castell Coch, a picturesque late nineteenth-century castle built by the architect William Burges. To whoever enjoys cycling I would also recommend the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, a route that runs between the two cities through the beautiful countryside.
Overall, my experience at the Cardiff EDC was extremely worthwhile and I am very grateful for all that I learned and the good times with the EDC team. I will most certainly keep following the activities run by the centre and will definitely come back to visit!