By Marta Silva (3rd year International Relations and French student)
As a part of my French degree I had to complete a 10 weeks work placement in a francophone country. Therefore I decided to start looking for an internship that could be useful not only to improve my French but to gain some experience in international relations as well. I started researching and sending some e-mails to NGOs and other organisations in Brussels and France. After some persistence and dedication I ended up with two offers: an internship in the Portuguese Embassy in Paris and an internship in a NGO in Brussels. After considering the options and because I have a special interest in NGOs I chose to go to Brussels.
I worked as a Policy Assistant for Health Equity and Policy Coherence at the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), which is a Europe’s leading NGO advocating for better health and part of the Social Platform, the European Public Health and Agriculture Consortium (EPHAC), the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), and the EU Civil Society Contact Group.
I worked on public health issues like children’s health, gender, poverty, mental health and social exclusion, doing research and writing briefings and reports. I especially liked working on a report on the impact of the economic crisis on mental health among the child and adolescent population in Europe. I attended some conferences and workshops. I was lucky enough to work close to health professionals, high level policy makers from all over the world (UK, Canada, United States, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Poland, France, etc.). I was responsible to write the Tobacco Feed and send it every week to EPHA’s members. I was also assisting in organizing the EPHA’s annual conference in September 2014.
It was a great experience, three rich months, where I improved my language skills and knowledge and definitely I have now a better understanding of the European Union and its organisations