By Mareen Franck, Universities of Applied Sciences in Ludwigsburg and Kehl
Coming for the first time from Germany to the West Coast of Canada, I had just a vague idea of how life would be in Canada and what expected me during my short-term internship (3 months) at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. As a master student (European Public Administration), I felt very much prepared for working in an international environment with an EU focus. As I have learned a lot about the EU’s political and legal aspects, I hoped that doing an internship abroad as part of my master’s degree would help me to understand more fully the various layers of EU collaborations with institutions across the world. When I heard about the opportunity to do my internship in Canada, working with the Europe-Canada-Network, I was determined to see if the promises of these kinds of collaboration were really significant for the parties involved.
From the first day on, partly still jetlagged, I was offered insight into all the projects that EUCAnet was implementing and developing. Then immediately a few days later, I saw myself being instrumental in implementing EU funded projects in Canada! This was exactly what I had hoped for - to get an opportunity to see the real-life collaboration between the countries on both sides of the Atlantic and get an overview of the EU research environment in Canada.
My tasks during my internship were manifold: I worked on the updates and research at the heart of the project, the comprehensive EUCAnet expert database that features over 200 EU experts in Canada. Furthermore, I worked on the implementation of three EU funded projects (Communication and Media Strategies for EU experts in Canada, Dialogue on Migration and Outreach activities for the European Community Studies Association - Canada, assisted in outreach activities on social media and did various research activities. I was impressed on how intense the research was in preparation of starting the implementation phase of a project activity.
Thanks to my work with the EUCAnet project, I have now an overview of where in Canada research on EU topics takes place and what discussions are of importance to Canadian universities and the public at large. For the first time, I worked with “real” EU funded projects and was provided with an inside view in such project’s life cycles (from the project application over the approval up to interim reports). Therefore, I could make use of the theoretical knowledge that I gained during the first two semesters of my master’s degree. It was interesting to experience how present the EU and its structures are even on other continents. The expertise on the EU research landscape in Canada that I gained during this internship will surely be a valuable aspect for my future career.
In addition to working with EUCAnet, I also gained an overview of the work of the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria. I assisted in preparing events and creating the Centre’s weekly newsletter. Being part of the weekly “Global Talk” series offered me the opportunity to listen to many interesting presentations.
Besides the interesting work with the EUCAnet and the Centre for Global Studies, I had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful landscape in Victoria and on Vancouver Island. People here are so connected to nature and the environment is spectacular: I did a lot of hiking, went on city trips to Vancouver and Seattle and on road trips to Whistler and across Vancouver Island with friends from the University. Of course, highlights like Whale Watching and going to a typical Canadian ice hockey game were on my list as well.
Mareen Franck is a second-year master student at the Universities of Applied Sciences in Ludwigsburg and Kehl (Germany) with a bachelor’s degree in Political and Social Sciences. After her internship at the University of Victoria, she has started another three-month internship at the state representation of Baden-Württemberg in Brussels, Belgium.