Now, one year later, here I am in Brussels, completing an internship with Thomson Reuters, one of the world’s largest press services in the capital of Europe. Having been on this program for about six weeks now, I can safely say that there is nothing I regret about coming to Belgium. Everything about the city makes me excited to be here and I almost feel a sense of pride and joy calling Brussels my “home away from home.”
Being in the capital of Europe has also afforded me an amazing amount of hands-on job experience. On my third day working for Reuters, I had the sole responsibility of conducting an exclusive interview with the Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister. How many other college students can say that about their study abroad experience? I have also had the privilege of attending and helping to cover EU summits and other meetings that make headlines worldwide. I was never very interested in political and business reporting before coming to Brussels, but going through this internship has definitely broadened my horizons and changed my mind a bit more on wanting to report on business and government issues. Through working with Reuters, I have also had the opportunity to see how a major news wire service works, which is an experience I do not know if I could have gotten anywhere else but through the Brussels program.
But what frustrates me a bit more than the rainy weather and prominent language barrier is having to constantly convert units and measurements into the metric system. I won’t lie, I am not the best when it comes to understanding the metric system measurements, so when asking for directions and someone tells me it is this many “meters” away, I often have no idea what they are really telling me. It is also quite weird to hear people say how nice and warm a “12 degree” day is in Brussels when referring to the weather.
The time I have spent in Brussels so far has included some of the best experiences of my life, and I am already dreading the day when I have to pack up my things and return home in April. I definitely think the Brussels program is one that has something in it for everyone. I would recommend the Brussels program to anyone looking to see a unique and “hidden gem” of Europe. After all, as the program director once told our class, “Belgium is a pocket-sized country with a punch.”