What a time to be in Berlin… the economic stability of Europe and what Germany (really Merkel…) will do to assure its stability is a constantly debated topic which I get to experience first-hand! This has so far been a remarkable experience. While not directly involved, it has been fascinating to experience the current economic and political climate of Europe while interning here at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin.
I have been in the Embassy for one month now, travelling to Berlin from Malmo, Sweden where I took a fascinating class comparing immigration policies between Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada with other students from these respective countries. I have to agree with Nora V, it was fascinating and a priceless experience to not only delve into our pre-existing interest of immigration in the class room, but to learn from other students, practitioners, and academics about their experiences with immigration policy and immigrants. I pursued my studies with GSPIA based on the amazing opportunities they could provide us access too, but I never thought it would be to this extent!
Now I am in Berlin and have been enjoying the city, work, and surrounding areas. At work, it is amazing how many skills that we learned in Public Policy class with Professor Juillet are coming in handy! I frequently attend events (latest one was a presentation by Foreign Minister Westerwelle at the Reichstag) and write reports/briefing notes on the main points and implications of them. You really do have to write only one page… every word truly does matter! Germany is such an influential actor in Europe and the world (particularly now) and there is always something going on to report or read about. In my short time here, I have witnessed the fast paced and constantly changing environment that is Embassy life. While this Embassy is much larger than others that interns can work at, I work with an excellent team, have met many other students interning here, and have access to large and high level political and Embassy events. The majority of those who work here are Locally Engaged Staff as well, which is a great way to practice my German and learn more about German culture!
And Berlin itself… it is a city which everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime. History lives and breathes on every surface of the city. The location of the Embassy is in the middle of the death strip and behind a memorial to the Berlin Wall, which serves as a reminder every day of the very recent changes and rapid growth and development Berlin has gone through. The people are frank, fun, and relaxed. The city never stops, there is always some new and exciting flea market to see, museum to peruse, or festival or street party to experience! While it is not the most aesthetically pleasing city in the world, there is so much vibrance and life in the city it is hard not to grow to love it.
But MOST importantly, Euro 2012 has kept me busy. Being a Dutch fan, I was not too liked in Berlin while sporting my bright orange jersey… but this once again added to the experience of learning about a new culture. Now that Germany is well on its way to win the Euro, it is amazing to be able to experience this in the country itself! There is nothing more fun than watching football in a biergarten, I must say!
I am looking forward to my next couple of months here and hope all my other intern colleagues across the world are enjoying their experiences as well.
Next up, Canada Day in Dresden! Tschuss!