Alicia Roy ’11 begins her internship this spring for the German parliament, giving her an intimate view of the inner workings of one of Europe’s most powerful countries playing a key role in the European financial crisis.
“I couldn’t believe that I landed this opportunity,” Alicia, 22, says. “Even now, telling people about the (internship), I feel like I’m talking about someone else and not something that’s actually going to happen to me.”
In October, Alicia learned she was selected for a five-month internship at the national Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany in Berlin through the competitive International Parliamentary Scholarships program. Her internship begins March 1.
She may be asked to draft speeches or letters for members of the German parliament, as well as preparing them for hearings. Germany has generated news headlines recently for its leadership in the European Union fiscal crisis.
In anticipation of the interview for the competitive internship program, Alicia read an online German newspaper to stay current on news articles written from a German point of view.
“I was asked specific questions about elections, parliament votes, political parties, and current events by five people – including a member of the German parliament,” says Alicia, who majored in German and film studies.
“I never thought I had a particularly good chance for the (internship), since I don’t have a background in politics or in international relations,” she says. “All I could offer was enthusiasm, demonstrated interest in German current events, and well thought-out motivations and goals. Apparently, that was enough!”
Alicia spent her junior year in Germany through the campus-sponsored Scripps Heidelberg program. She practiced her German and immersed herself in the culture. Those experiences were invaluable in helping her prepare for this internship.
“I loved the traveling I did while abroad, but most of all, I loved settling in to life in Germany – getting to know the streets, the trains, the markets, the festivals, the people, the landscape, and, of course, the food!” says Alicia, who is from Oregon.
She is pondering a career in international politics, but for now, she’s thrilled she’ll return to live and work in Germany.
“My advice to Scrippsies who go abroad would be to make an effort to connect with people from the country you visit,” she says. “It’s so much easier to hang out with other exchange students. However, I can tell you it was rewarding to make connections with Germans.”
Now, Alicia gets to draw on those connections and on her college studies to aid the German parliament in a crucial moment of European history.