Between March 11-17, 2023, the 9th edition of Professional Internships in European Institutions took place in Brussels, with the participation of 53 master’s students from the University of Bucharest (MA programs Integrated Environmental Assessment – EISM and Environmental Policies for Sustainable Development – PMDD from the Faculty of Geography), “Babeș-Bolyai” University of Cluj Napoca and “Ovidius” University of Constanța.
The activity was financially supported by the European Parliament through the Visits and Seminars Unit (coordinated by Mrs. Lavinia Cincă), as a multiplier group of European opinion.
This experience allowed students to understand the functioning of European institutions directly from European officials in the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Committee of Regions. Moreover, the students entered the atmosphere of the turmoil faced by the EU, especially from the perspective of climate change, biodiversity management and the implementation of the European Ecological Pact. Career management and the possibility of applying for internships at the European institutions was a topic very much discussed, both with the representatives of the European institutions and with the colleagues who had the chance to benefit from these opportunities.
Outside the program in the European institutions, students visited the interactive exhibitions Parlamentarium (an interactive way of accessing the secrets of the functioning of the European Parliament) and Casa Europa (a fascinating foray into the recent history of the European Union), the Royal Museum of Natural History (a unique collection of paleontology, mineralogy, anthropology, animal biology and urban ecology) and Brussels Wastewater Treatment Plant (one of the most advanced systems promoted at the level of a large city).
Incursions were made to understand the various aspects relevant to the urban ecology of the cities of Brussels (green-blue infrastructure, waste and wastewater management, natural heritage management, air quality control), Brugge (in particular, management of water resources and heritage elements) and Antwerp (understanding the projection of urban regeneration projects carried out in relation to the port).The workshops held before, during and after this experience represented an extraordinary milieu for sharing students’ thoughts on the European Union and their future. The next workshops will follow the dissemination of this experience enjoyed by all 15 generations of masters in the field of Environmental Science from the Faculty of Geography.“This internship program is already a brand of the Faculty of Geography, which we are proud of and in which we believe. Through this module of professional internships, we want to enrich the professional and cultural experiences of the students, but also to anchor them as best as possible in the realities of the European future, in which they must assume responsibilities, if they want a beautiful future”, noted prof. Cristian Ioja, PhD, professor at the Faculty of Geography of the University of Bucharest.The students were coordinated by prof. Cristian Iojă, PhD, and prof. Mihai Niță (University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography), prof. Adina Croitoru, PhD, (“Babeș-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca) and lect. Irina Florea-Saghin, PhD, (“Ovidius” University of Constanța).