My time at AEJ Belgium has been invaluable and has given me unique experiences. I have really enjoyed working on various tasks for the organisation and feel like I have gained skills I didn’t have before. This includes better writing, editing and interviewing skills, both in French and in English, as well as learning how to use Mailchimp and improving my knowledge of WordPress.
I feel very lucky to have had the chance to write for a national paper, visit the European Parliament and Commission, speak to various journalists, and talk live on the radio. Before doing the internship journalism was something I was considering pursuing in future, but I wasn’t sure about it. Now, having done the internship, my passion and interest in journalism have been consolidated and I feel more sure than ever that it is something I would like to continue doing in future. This would not have been made possible without the help from everyone at AEJ Belgium. Throughout the internship, I felt welcomed and supported in my work and my move to a different country, particularly by Lieven, and I really enjoyed getting to know the various people working for the organisation. They all made sure I felt comfortable both with the work and outside of it and Lieven was especially considerate of allowing me to focus on topics I enjoy through my work. I enjoyed having the chance to work both from the Press Club and remotely, as it allowed me to try different working styles in different environments.
At times the internship was a bit disorganised: there were days when I wasn’t sure what my tasks were, and the work balance could vary from some very busy days to others where I had almost nothing to do. As an improvement, communication could be clearer as information was sometimes missed, and regular fixed meetings to discuss the agenda could be useful to clarify the intern’s work and deadlines. Overall, however, I liked having a level of freedom to choose when and where to work from and having the responsibility of doing the work independently as it forced me to become more proactive.
I will always remember my time at AEJ as one which taught me a lot about my own capabilities and which gave me lots of new opportunities which I learnt a lot from and thoroughly enjoyed. I got a unique insight into the profession of journalism which helped me solidify what I like about it, and the organisation was very accommodating, while also pushing me to try new things.
Brussels proved to be a great city to live in; it’s multicultural and vibrant and there is an endless number of things to see and do. Some of my personal favourites cultural activities include the Belvue Museum, the House of European History, and the Fondation Folon which is situated just outside of the city. Brussels also has plenty of parks for those who prefer natural scenery, and l felt very lucky to live close to the Bois de la Cambre, which was beautiful both on warmer and colder days.
The food in Brussels is something else I will greatly miss. As someone who already liked waffles before moving to the city, they quickly became a frequent part of my diet and the smell coming from the waffle stalls in the centre is irresistible. The same can be said for the famous “frites belges” – I would recommend Maison Antoine in the European Quarter which offers several sauces alongside their fries.
The only downside I can think of is the city’s public transport system, where buses were often packed and delayed, and trams occasionally had technical difficulties. At night, in particular, I felt like there could be more frequent transport which would help people feel safer when travelling across the city in the dark. Having said that, the city is very well-connected and you can travel nearly anywhere in around half an hour, something which is very different to London, my home town. The tram route number 44 is especially worth visiting for an escape from the city into some greenery.
Brussels feels like a very underrated European city. Although it doesn’t have Paris’s tourist sites, or Madrid’s hot weather, it has a very specific charm due to its architecture and size. It provides lots of entertainment without being overwhelming like other larger cities, and also feels very well-connected to the rest of the world, with its multitude of EU institutions, citizens and languages.