The experience of an internship on a political foundation
For me, liberalism means freedom. Freedom to stand up for its values, freedom to develop, freedom to gain new experiences, and to grow.
During my two-month internship at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Greece and Cyprus in the Athens office, I got to do just that. Admittedly, before I arrived I was a little scared to move alone to a country where I do not speak the language, know the culture, or anyone, especially as it was the first time I had traveled abroad alone for an extended period of time.
Throughout my time in the Athens office, project coordinator Alona Tatarova and project assistant Eleni Siapikoudi tried to make my time as pleasant as possible, with success. I could always turn to them with any concerns, whether it was about free time tips, restaurants, or the work at the foundation. They introduced me to many new people and provided new contacts so that I didn't have to sit alone in my flat all the time.
During the internship, I was able to experience how the work of a political foundation is conducted abroad. All meetings were held in English as far as possible and even though I often could not contribute much, my ideas and impressions were always listened to. I was also included in all other conversations and processes and even had my own projects to work on. Even if I sometimes had no idea about the things I was doing, it was no problem to ask a third time, so I always learned something in the end. The working atmosphere in the office was always very pleasant and I was happy every day to get new tasks and learn something again.
Before I started the internship, I had no idea what it was like to work in a political foundation. Now that my time in Athens is coming to an end, I can say that even though I do not know exactly where my career path will lead me, foundation work is definitely something I enjoy and can imagine doing. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation is committed to political education, women's empowerment, and sustainability. The projects supported by the foundation are selected after internal discussion and evaluation of the whole team, in order to meet the goals and the strategic planning of the Foundation. The whole planning around the projects, the implementation, and the final result is supervised by them, so in the end you can see exactly what impact and positive results your work had. So you don't just sit at a computer desk, you get to talk to people and be part of the development from the beginning. Even in the short time I spent in Athens, I learned to appreciate this work very much.
During my time here, I not only learned a lot about my professional ideas and working in a political foundation, but also a lot about myself. I had the freedom to take responsibility for myself in a new, foreign country and to grow from my challenges. In the beginning, it was strange not having anyone around who speaks my language or who I really know, but it also opened the door to new experiences, incredibly beautiful moments, and a new culture.
All in all, the time I spent in Athens and with Alona and Eleni was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did I have the opportunity to learn a lot about myself, but also about another culture and another country, and I was able to gain insights into the work of a liberal foundation. Finally, I would like to encourage everyone to take the opportunity to do an internship at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, because I would not have given up my time in Athens!