A Little Goodbye!

After many fun moments and experiences my internship in the EFIL office has come to an end. It has been an enjoyable time with ups and downs; long workdays with tasks and e-mails just piling up, and a lot of cleaning to come home to, but at the same time there has been room for interesting discussions and delicious food!

While in Brussels I met a lot of Danish students who interned for the European Union. They often recounted their internship as a time with little or no responsibility, where their actions of serving coffee or tea or picking up mail had little meaning to them. Of course it was not this black and white, but their situation perfectly contrasted mine. I had free hands to be proactive, to make an impact where I found it necessary and this is something I really loved about my stay. My colleagues at the EFIL office treated me not as an intern but as a co-worker and as a result of that I grew with the responsibility put on my shoulders. Out of it a new HTML newsletter saw the light of the day which will hopefully be improved over the next months when it is fully implemented.

I also felt this trust in my work with the Volunteer Summer Summit (VSS), whose team I was happy to be an intimate part of. To discuss, plan, and shape such a big event always has its surprises. I was impressed to see how people rose to the occasion so that we managed to tackle them more or less smoothly. And I was impressed with all the positive surprises which are not to be forgotten: the fact that participants arrived at time for workshops despite the huge venue, the amazing exhibition which will soon be posted online, etc. In the end, I was left with a feeling that participants took home good memories along with a willingness to continue volunteering which is the best outcome I could have imagined.

In September, I participated in a volunteer event of New York University Abu Dhabi where I will spend my next four years studying an undergraduate. We visited a women’s labour camp to serve food for the female workers while at the same time organising small, interactive activities with the goal to give them something in addition to their repetitive work-sleep cycle. On the way back I found myself smiling: even though I was half across the globe I still got to volunteer! The happiness and sense of purpose volunteering gives people keeps amazing me; and I hope that participants at the VSS shared this finding!

I am still an unfinished product. Yet, I have learned a ton the past eight months which, hopefully, makes me a tiny tad less unfinished. In either way, I am thankful to say that I have grown from every single experience –and the EFIL office so too, I hope. Thanks to everyone there, Paul, Frini, Inga, Iza, Elisa, and my fellow interns Tara and Roberta. You made my world go around and I look much forward to coming back and visit you!