An Intern’s Perspective
By Rebecca Emrick (UPPSALA Univercity, Sweden)
Upon starting the Euroculture Program in the Fall 2017, I was always certain that I wanted to complete an internship for my third semester of studies. It wasn’t until I started to explore different research projects, particularly at Uppsala University, that I realized how relevant the RESPOND project was not only to my studies, but also my interests. Although not my sole focus during my B.A. studies, I did have some experience researching about asylum seekers and refugees, as well as taking a course on International Human Rights Law on migrant populations. It was this initial exposure during my B.A. studies that really peaked my interest in migration studies. Now in my current master’s program in Euroculture, I have a dual focus on cultural diplomacy, as well as migration studies.
I realized how relevant the RESPOND project was not only to my studies, but also my interests.
Therefore, when I found the RESPOND project it seemed like a perfect fit for me, and being involved in such a project would allow for me to explore my interests specifically within migration governance in Sweden. Moreover, the aim to include asylum seekers and refugees experiences in the project also really appealed to me on an ethical level of the project, and it was an aspect of migration that I was not familiar working with. This perspective that the project adopted was another aspect that really drew me into working with the RESPOND team.
It was then that I decided to take a chance, and apply for the opportunity to do a research internship with the RESPOND team at Uppsala University.
I was accepted to join the project from December to March, and although my time with the RESPOND team was brief, it was also immensely intensive and insightful. For instance, my work with WP5 on the macro level as well as WP3 allowed me to become more familiar with the governmental and legal structures of Sweden migration governance system. However, because I didn’t have previous knowledge specifically about Sweden, it was challenging to know where to start with some aspects of the project. That being said, asking questions was always encouraged and the RESPOND team was always immensely supportive and willing to help me along the way if I’ve ever needed guidance throughout my time with them. For future RESPOND interns I’d say to never be afraid to ask questions, since they’re always encouraged, and due to the independent nature of the project make sure to set deadlines for yourself! Although I did struggle with this in the beginning, I felt like throughout the project my habits were refined and improved.
Although I wasn’t sure what to expect, seeing as it was my first time being involved in a research project, the RESPOND team immediately invited me in from the beginning and helped to find my role within the project. Now that my research internship has unfortunately already ended, my time with the RESPOND team really allowed me to find and dive into my specific interests within migration studies. This has enabled me to imagine what it’d be like if I pursued a career, or even a PhD, in migration studies.
Rebecca graduated from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in 2017 with a B.A. in International Relations – Political Science, and a minor in French Literature. She took a fifth year in her bachelor studies to also study at the French Grande École Sciences Politique in Paris, France. She now studies Euroculture, an ERASMUS Mundus Master of Excellence joint-degree program, in Uppsala University and Jagiellonian University. Her research within the program specifically focuses on cultural diplomacy and migration within a European and EU context, however the multidisciplinary nature of the program means that she has also studied religion, history, politics, and sociology within the program. Her professional experiences range from working for the International House at UCSD, to interning for the EU Delegation to the U.S. in the Press and Public Diplomacy Section in Washington D.C.