We are here to stay – European Interns’ Day

We are here to stay

Project 668 at the first European Interns’ Day

 

The big day had arrived and we were all curious, anxious, nervous and excited at the same time.

Will there be enough participants? Will it rain (this is a very legitimate question in Brussels)? Will people come to our stand? Will people participate in our quiz? How will the other organisers act like?

To answer all these questions in one sentence: everything worked well. We set up our stand with the help of some strong male co-organisers (thank you guys 🙂 ), connected with some of the attendees and the other organisers (thanks again for the home-made organic sun cream!), and enjoyed to talk about Project 668 and discuss possible ways of collaboration.

In my opinion the most valuable experience of the European Interns’ Day was to meet representatives from organisations and young people who are concerned about the current employment and social situation in Europe and actually want to change it.

Pierre from InternsGoPro put it very nicely in his speech “We need to change the mind-set of people. And I’m not saying this because I am naïve or stupid, I am saying this because I believe in it and because it is needed.” Thumbs up for that. Of course this kind of change takes time and won’t happen from one day to the other but if we don’t start now to support and promote it, it will never happen.

Later on the panel debate “Quality internships: ways forward” with representatives from youth NGOs, trade union representatives and representatives of EU institutions took place. Around 100 people attended the debate and I liked that many questions were asked and a real debate took place. I don’t want to go too much into details, but would like to highlight a statement made by Tom Vrijens, Bureau Member of the ETUC Youth Committee: “When I prepared myself for this debate I asked myself “Do we really need internships?” It is a legitimate question. Interns usually aren’t here to stay, so why support this form of exploitation?

Finally I would like to pick up one of Tom’s sentences to formulate my final thought on the European Interns’ Day: we are here to stay. With “we” I mean all the supporters and organisers of the European Interns’ Day who believe in the same cause, and with “here” I mean the minds of the people who attended the event, who heard about it and who will follow it in the past. And may this be the minds of politicians, opinion leaders, young people, old people, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we stay there and that they start thinking about the current situation that we live in and who knows, maybe this is then the start of a social change.

by Lidjia Globokar

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