Hello, my name is Pavlo Cherchatyi, and for the time being, I am doing an internship at the Press and Information Office of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. By reading this post you will find out how studying at the Democracy and Governance Master’s Programme helped me to pursue an internship at the EU Delegation.
What is my internship about?
Back in July, having successfully participated in the last stage of the internship competition and an interview, I was invited to join a dynamic team at the EU Delegation in Kyiv.
First and foremost, the Delegation of the EU is the official external mission of the European Union that represents the organization in the world. The diplomatic mission carries out the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.
For me this internship meant a lot: first and foremost, I was very interested in the role of the EU as an influential external actor in helping Ukraine to conduct large-scale political and social transformations, as well as EU-Ukraine relations a bit more generally.
Secondly, I was directly exposed to the work of the organization as an insider. Last but not least, I was planning to conduct comprehensive thesis research on how the EU is trying to induce positive change in Ukraine with regard to tackling the issue of corruption.
Therefore, the idea of interviewing the experts who advance EU initiatives on the ground and know the “hidden stones” and gaps of the system served as serious motivation to apply for this internship. To cut it short, this experience, in all respects, was something I really wanted, and I was lucky enough to be selected.
What are my key responsibilities?
The Press and Information Section, where I am now, largely works with media- and journalism-related questions. Nonetheless, its broader strategy includes a regional outreach by bringing EU values and culture through the organization of different cultural and social events such as forums, conferences, festivals, different quizzes, and workshops (I took part in many events myself).
Here at the office, I assist my colleagues in conducting research on the media-related issues, help to coordinate activities and events of the EU networks in Ukraine, assist in preparing posts for the Delegation’s social media profiles, answer requests, take notes at the meetings, as well as help with different administrative issues. Apart from this, my main task was to help with organizing a big forum of all the EU networks in Ukraine, an event that gathered more than 350 proactive participants.
How have my studies brought me to where am I now?
I believe that in order to answer this question we need to look at the Democracy and Governance programme from a slightly broader perspective and leave a conventional understanding aside, implying that to research, for instance, the EU or IR or work in these areas you have to be a student in these precise domains.
Throughout the programme, I personally liked that it provides quite strong methodology and research skills and good general theoretical fundamentals. At the other end, the programme gives a lot of space and freedom where students can maneuver themselves based on their respective spheres of interest.
I personally gained a strong interest in the EU’s external governance, having participated in Kristina Muhhina’s class on public governance, where we dealt with numerous cases of successful public administration reform by studying and analyzing different countries’ experiences along with their nuances, learning from failed cases, as well as debating on different questionable topics.
Subsequently, I took part in the qualitative research methods class, where Kristina shared her professional experience regarding research on the EU Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership, both of which Ukraine is a part.
I was also very inspired by Vello Pettai’s class in Political and Social Change, where we had a good chance to get acquainted with different systems of measurement by comparing dozens of different countries, understanding different political regimes in depth and getting to know what, for instance, a “critical juncture” is or the difference between “extractive” and “inclusive” institutions.
Looking back, it is a slightly difficult task to pinpoint one particular class or some concrete aspect of the programme, as I believe that each, even small, detail is very important and taught me something new and valuable. I guess the program overall is fairly well organized and prepares you well for the job market.
It is also that the professors and students whom I met during my studies in Tartu played a serious role in my worldview, as I was looking up to them and learning something new every day.
Last but not least, I really valued the feedback that I have been getting from professors in Tartu on whatever task I had, which helped greatly to move forward and improve my skills. All of these instances made a serious impression in choosing my research area and a potential career path to pursue.
If you would like to know more about my internship, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.