Interview conducted by Ivana Putri
Béline Hermet (2017-2019, FR) has a background in International Development with a minor in Italian Studies. After a couple of years in Canada, she wanted to go back to Europe. For her, Euroculture was an obvious choice. Apart from her interest in the issues the programme attempts to tackle, she finds additional appeal in the mobility opportunities that the programme offers, which allow her to study in different universities and countries in a multicultural environment with international students.
Béline started her Euroculture life in Uppsala and Göttingen. She spent her third semester doing an Editorial Assistant internship at Eurozine, a network of European cultural journals and an online magazine, headquartered at Vienna, Austria.
Thanks Béline for taking the time to share your experience!
1. So, why an internship?
I know I don’t want to do a PhD, so I was sure from the beginning that I wanted to do an internship to have professional experience and opportunities. I have not yet had the opportunity to do an internship that is of longer duration, and I wanted to get a better idea of what I want to do after Euroculture.
2. Can you tell us what you were doing in your internship?
I was an editorial assistant at Eurozine, an online magazine providing articles on European culture and politics, mainly from partner journals and associates from different countries in Europe. I helped organize the 29th European Meeting of Cultural Journals held in November 2018, wrote reviews on francophone and Italian partner journals, edited/published articles and language translations on the website, conducted research on French cultural journals, analysed content of partner journals’ newest issues, and so on.
3. What were your expectations of the internship placement and how does it match with the reality?
I expected to gain an insight in the functioning of an online magazine and a deeper knowledge of the cultural journals sector in Europe. I expected to improve my oral and written communication skills as well as organisational skills. The working language is English, but I often have to deal with French, Italian, Spanish or Swedish journals, so I was also hoping to make good use of this time to further develop my language skills in the aforementioned 3-4 languages.
4. What are the major differences between your first and second semesters vis-à-vis your internship semester?
The internship semester is different from student life which I was used to for a couple of years. It is busier, especially when if you choose to take evening language classes and do sports on the side, like I did. For those who have longer internships (e.g. ending mid February), it is important to be organised so that you can manage to study and prepare your thesis proposal while also working [in the office] during the day, and this I find a bit difficult. Concerning social life, it is also different. I was the only intern at my organisation, so I met less people my age, but through my internship, I got the opportunity to meet very interesting people. I didn’t know anyone when I arrived here in Vienna, so I made friends through activities I did on the side, so that would be something I would recommend if you start an internship in a new country where you don’t know anyone.
5. Please describe the social and working environment in the workplace you did your placement at.
The Eurozine editorial team in Vienna is rather small: 8 people (including me) from 8 different nationalities. I personally prefer to work in a middle-sized or smaller organization compared to a huge team, especially for supervision reasons. The working environment was very nice, everyone was welcoming and both my supervisor and my colleagues were always there to answer questions or provide support for different tasks. I was the only intern. There was no open call and it was the first time they had an intern for over 3 months.
6. Could you tell us about your internship preparation process?
When I was doing my semester in Göttingen in June 2018, I was discussing the research track option with Irene, a Euroculture friend, and she was the one who introduced me to Eurozine, because she was reading their articles online. I had never heard of Eurozine before, so I decided to do some research, read their articles, and found them to be profoundly interesting. Although there were no open internship opportunities shared on the Eurozine website, I decided to spontaneously contact Eurozine by email, along with attaching a cover letter and a CV. Filip Zieliński, Eurozine’s Managing Director, who is now my placement supervisor, replied positively and we then had a Skype meeting to discuss details.