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Internship report: Elisa Patassa

7 June 2015
Elisa Patassa with two other Cardiff EDC interns.

I arrived in Cardiff at the end of February 2015. The first impression was very good, except for the weather. Indeed, the city welcomed me with hail, but just a few weeks later, daffodils started blossoming everywhere and I was very surprised when I discovered that spring does exist here as well!

Last February, I graduated in “Promotion of Italy abroad”, a Master’s Degree in the field of Modern Languages for International Communication and Cooperation. To promote Italy abroad, a good knowledge of Italy is not enough, having a deep understanding of other countries and cultures is also vital. That’s why I have chosen the multicultural environment, which characterises the Cardiff EDC to get a first work experience in an English speaking country.

The Cardiff EDC is one of the 400 Europe Documentation Centres which are bodies designated by the European Commission to collect and spread information on Europe and the European Union. The added value of the Cardiff EDC is its European Sources Online (ESO), a massive electronic information database consisting of records from a wide range of primary and secondary information sources, including news sources. When I was introduced to this service for the first time, I loved the idea that for the following three months, I would be creating ‘trees of information’ by applying a rigorous and reasoned method.

At the EDC my daily work consisted of creating index records for the ESO paying particular attention to the news released by the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. Reading and understanding such prestigious publications every day was extremely useful because it allowed me to deepen both my general knowledge and my linguistic skills. Thanks to this internship I became more aware of what is going on in the world and it is now easier for me to take a stance on global issues.

In addition to this main duty, I carried out other complementary tasks, which included revising or translating some ESO Information Guides and PowerPoint handouts, staffing the Enquiry Desk and reorganising the library shelves. I had also the chance of planning and attending two events held in the centre: “What Europe means to me” and the “Europe Day Quiz”. Both of them were very challenging and I liked the fact that I always played an active role. For the former, I prepared a topic on immigration and migration in Greece and I presented it to the public. For the latter, I received the guests, organised the teams and learned a lot of curiosities on Europe in a ludic way.

The working environment at the Cardiff EDC is very friendly. I worked under the guidance of Ian Thomson, Cardiff EDC Director, and two Senior Library Assistants: Fred and Ceri. From the very first day, I felt welcomed and integrated into the Centre and that’s also thanks to the other full-time and part-time interns I had the pleasure to meet and enjoy conversations with. I really loved the international atmosphere you can feel in the centre, especially during the social events which are like gatherings of Europeans willing to share their ideas and cultures.

Cardiff is a green and vibrant city, full of students and kind Welsh people who are always greeting you with “Cheers!”. I loved reaching the city centre walking through the trail in Bute Park that runs alongside the imposing castle. I was also lucky enough to be in Cardiff while the Dirty Dancing musical was on stage at the Millennium Centre, in Cardiff Bay. That night, I definitely had the time of my life!

To be fair, I have chosen this city mainly for its proximity to the sea. As I live in the centre of Italy, I am not used to going to the sea quite often and I liked the idea of living close to the unspoiled landscapes which characterise Wales. And I must say that I have explored a lot of wonderful sites, including Rhossili, Llantwit Major, Penarth and Barry Island. On the weekends, I have also had the opportunity to travel to London, Bristol, Chepstow and Bath.

Now that my internship is over, I would like to thank Ian for his generosity and cordiality, Fred, for his kindness and patience, Ceri for her helpfulness, Roberta, Lisa, Anita, Jess and Lucy for all the fantastic moments we spent together. I am really happy to have invested three months of my life in this experience and to have shared it with those wonderful people. At the end of this adventure I can say that I am very pleased with my choice. I would definitely recommend this internship to open-minded people who have a particular interest in European issues and wish to work in a multicultural environment.