From beer to Brussels

Brexit. Grexit. Nexit. The EU is under fire. Do RUG students even still want to work in Brussels? At the EU Careers Event late last week, it turned out that they do.
By Freek Schueler / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

The European Union is facing increasing pressure. Both here and abroad, political parties criticising European cooperation are doing well in the polls. Great Britain’s exit from the EU has once again shown that not everyone supports it.

However, there are still plenty of students who aspire to a job in Brussels, as the turnout at the EU Careers Event last Thursday proved. Over 150 students came to the Academy building, all with the same future plans: a job in Brussels. What motivates these students to want a job like that in these insecure times?

Hidde Wedman (21) is one of the EU Careers Event’s organisers. A bachelor student of history, Wedman serves as the EU Careers Ambassador and help desk for students who would like to know more about anything EU: from questions about selection procedures to help with required entry tests.

He also helps students who are looking for an internship. After his bachelor, he wants to do a master in Euroculture, eventually hoping to go through the same selection procedure for which he currently advises his fellow students.

Worrisome

He is not put off by the increasing popularity of anti-European parties: ‘I do think it’s worrisome that in addition to in the Netherlands, people are losing faith in the EU and politics as a whole all over Europe.’

But that is also a good challenge, he says: ‘We need to band together and help the EU, especially now. That’s the message I’m trying to tell students who are having doubts.’

Reinard van Dalen (21), a computer science student, also names this challenge as his biggest motivation for his ambition to have a political career. He thinks that Europe should collaborate more. According to Van Dalen, it is important that the security forces in various European countries are able to exchange information and thus help prevent attacks. As a computer scientist, he feels he can contribute to processing the large amounts of data this process will involve.

Cultures

Students are not just motivated by the challenge, but also by the international aspects of a Brussels career. This is true for Rolf Hoitzing (21), a student of European languages and cultures. In addition to Dutch, he speaks German, French, and Russian. He also loves travelling and encountering other cultures, which explains his Brussels aspirations.

Unfortunately, getting in is not easy. The selection procedures are strict and take a long time, and only four to six percent of everyone who signs up eventually gets a job Brussels.

Nederlands

01 March 2017 | 1-3-2017, 13:02