Euroculture Report

An EU Internship in Bangkok

Eike Bangkok2 (1)

Eike-Maria Hinz │eike.maria.hinz@googlemail.com

Thailand: a country of amazing beaches, beautiful nature, sex tourism, the metropolis Bangkok and delicious Thai food. I guess those are the main associations for many people who consider Thailand as a holiday destination. There is much truth in all of these aspects.

“A country of amazing beaches, beautiful nature, sex tourism, the metropolis Bangkok and delicious Thai food…”

How did I end up in Bangkok then? I wanted to do an internship in Asia for my third semester of MA Euroculture. Hence, I wanted to explore and discover an unknown area of the world for me, such as Asia, whilst linking it to my internship. South East Asia seemed most attractive among others, keeping in mind all the nice vacation pictures mentioned above. With some luck I received one of the highly competitive trainee placements and could work from July until October 2013 at the European Union Delegation to Thailand. Politically speaking, this Delegation is established in the framework of the EEAS (European External Action Service) and functions as an EU Diplomatic Mission, with an EU Ambassador as a mouthpiece of the European Union vis-à-vis the authorities and the population of Thailand.

“I am the trainee at the Press & Information Section at the EEAS…”

I am the trainee at the Press & Information Section (other sections in Delegation at the EEAS are: Political, Trade and Cooperation). As such, I am responsible for the Delegation’s Facebook page, a brochure about an EU Seminar concerning the Rule of Law in Myanmar with Aung San Suu Kyi, the European Heritage Map Bangkok, the Erasmus Mundus Program in Thailand and lots of other interesting assignments. My daily routine is shaped by internet recherché for new Facebook posts, drafting around twenty e-mails a day, arranging cultural meetings and preparing diplomatic and visibility events. I learn a lot and read interesting articles everyday such as EU press releases or Thai news, which gives me new insights into the EU -Thailand relationship.

Besides the work in the office, living in Bangkok is a unique challenge. Bangkok is the most visited city in the world according to Master Card Global Destination Cities Index 2013 and, believe me, everyday (especially during the rush hours: 7:30-11 am and 16-19 pm) this city overflows with people, cars and tourists. While officially the population is approximately 9 million inhabitants, unofficially greater Bangkok counts 20 million people. This is an urban challenge to go to work, get food, buy things or simply get from point A to point B. But the city offers a lot: skyscrapers, parks, Buddhist temples, the Kings Palace, over five huge shopping malls, cuisines and products from around the world, fancy nightclubs, sky bars and delicious Thai street food for 1€.

“It is…horizon expanding.”

My life as a trainee at EEAS in Bangkok can be best summed up in two words, ‘horizon expanding’. Not only as a working experience for the EU but in every sense, in meeting new people from all over the world, in understanding the culture of Thailand and South East Asia as well as in reflecting my own German and European mindset and heritage. As I have met other interns (mostly European, who are called “farang” by the Thais) working at embassies, consulting or tourism firms, NGOs or start-ups here, it is clear to me that Bangkok is a real intern magnet and hence the ‘Bangkok Intern Network’ works quite well when it comes to finding friends, sharing flats or just hanging out. I guess all internship experiences in Bangkok are quite diverse but am pretty sure somehow an internship here will definitely open up your eyes. My internship is not yet over but still, if you would ask me whether I would do it again? The answer would be: Of course, YES!

Eike profileEike-Maria Hinz, Contributing Writer

Eike is from Germany and started MA Euroculture in 2012. She studied Political Science and History for her BA from the University Mannheim, Germany. In her first semester of MA Euroculture, Eike discovered the cold snowy sides and the warmhearted mentality of Uppsala, Sweden. In the second semester, however, she experienced the fascinating cultural and historical richness of Krakow, Poland. Her passions are the USA (she was there during her high school days), ballet and food (cooking and eating) as well as philosophy and anything concerning culture, heritage and tradition.

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