KF European Parliament Traineeship
Upon accepting the KF European Parliament Traineeship, I was tasked with assisting the Visitors Services Coordination Unit of the European Parliament's (EP) Directorate-General for Communication (DG Communication). This unit is in charge of the major visiting facilities of the EP, such as the Parlamentarium, the Hemicycle, Station Europe, and the House of European History. The Parlamentarium is a museum that charts the history of the European integration project and explains the inner workings of the EP. The Hemicycle is a semicircular plenary chamber, where visitors can sit in on EU plenary sessions and debates. Station Europe, housed in a renovated train station, is an information center for the European Union, while the House of European History is a new museum that introduces the political, economic, social, and cultural history of Europe.
My unit was responsible for a wide range of interesting work; however, there were three tasks that I found particularly rewarding. First, I was honored to be tasked with researching and selecting a collections of photographs to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome (1958). The Treaty is one of the most important foundational documents of the European Union, as it established a customs union and proposed a number of common policies within Europe. It was my duty to find photographs dating back to 1958 and as well as the present day, covering a number of themes including borders, trade, food, family, holidays, and education. The photographs were exhibited in the main square of the EP, revealing the changes in European lifestyles since the introduction of the Treaty of Rome.
Secondly, I conducted interviews with each of the new trainees at DG Communication and published a blog post to introduce them to the public. Senior staff members were impressed by blog post, saying they found my interviews fresh and entertaining.
Lastly, I wrote a series of Korean blog posts to explain the EP's visitor facilities. I noticed that we welcomed a number of Korean visitors to our institutions, yet we didn't have a single blog post written in Korean outlining the facilities. I thought this blog would be helpful for Korean visitors and would encourage more Koreans to learn about European politics and the role of the EP. During my traineeship, I also had several opportunities to participate in seminars and conferences that discussed third-country migrants and their labor status in Europe. In a seminar about North Koreans, I learned that there are substantial numbers of North Korean workers in European and African countries. For instance, in Poland alone, there are more than 500 North Koreans who are forced to work in slave-like conditions in factories. The seminars I participated in showed that the EP has a major role in improving the human rights and labor status of third-country migrants and refugees, including North Koreans.
I sincerely believe that my experience in DG Communication broadened my horizons and helped me come to the realization that I need not be anchored to my previous field of academic research. In addition, thanks to the wide array of different tasks I was assigned, I was able to discover a new passion. I especially enjoyed the process of preparing the exhibitions for the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, and found that I have talent in this area. In light of this, my goal is to apply for positions in international organizations that plan and promote performances, cultural events, and exhibitions. As part of my preparation I plan to acquire more practical skills, increasing my familiarity with video-editing and blog-management software, and improving my foreign langauge skills.