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Eleonora Kleibel, EUROCITIES, Belgium

”Don’t stop trying, embrace this uncertainty as something positive”
During her internship, Eleonora Kleibel worked with the social aspect of city development; involving everything from discussions regarding migration to socially responsible public procurement.

Student portrait Eleonora Kleibel

 

Why did you choose to do a traineeship? What did you want to get out of the experience?

Learning can have manifold faces and does not necessarily require you to sit in a lecture hall. This is why I decided to go abroad so I could gain new skills by working for EUROCITIES – a network of European cities. I perceived this as a way to not only learn new hands-on competencies, but also to see what future occupations in my sector could potentially look like. All of my expectations have definitely been fulfilled by completing an internship as part of my programme.

What did you do during your traineeship?

As a trainee in the social affairs department of the city-network EUROCITIES, I was charged with different tasks during my six-month traineeship. The organisation was well-prepared for my arrival and I was integrated into the team from the very first day. Together with my supervisor, I was working on policy papers, organised networking and peer-learning events for city-representatives and attended many meetings and events on behalf of the organisation. The thematic range was broad and covered topics from migrant and refugee integration to socially responsible public procurement.

Which tasks were the most interesting?

I particularly enjoyed the exchange with local authorities and trying to understand what issues are pressing in their local constituencies. I am convinced that this two-fold translation work, from the local to the European level and vice-versa, is crucial for a functioning European Union, close to its citizens. Therefore, the tasks I considered the most interesting were the conferences and working group meetings organised in the cities with representatives from all over Europe. This required different skills, ranging from event and project management to handle the logistics and develop an agenda that satisfies the needs of all participants, to good analytical competences in order to ensure a comprehensive report and follow-up of the event.

In what ways do you think this traineeship will affect your future career?

I am certain that the knowledge and skills gained through this work experience will be an asset to any future employment. Besides providing me with solid work experience, this time-period was also crucial for me on a personal level to assert which tasks I enjoy and where my interests and competences lie.

Do you have any advice for future trainees?

I think the most important advice for anyone trying to set foot in the professional world by completing an internship is to not get disheartened. It can be frustrating to send numerous applications and sometimes not even receive a response. My advice is: don’t stop trying, embrace this uncertainty as something positive, as an exciting phase in your life, full of potential. But most importantly: don’t get consumed by self-doubt!

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About Eleonora

Name and age:
Eleonora Kleibel, 
25 years

Field of study at Lund University:
Master of Arts in European Studies (second year)

Did her traineeship at:
EUROCITIES, Belgium

Traineeship period:
June–December 2016

Email: eleonora [dot] kleibel [at] gmail [dot] com