An active member of both the Football and International Relations Clubs, Vincent Albrecht is working towards enriching his portfolio with hands-on experience in the diplomatic sector. Last summer he interned at the German Ministry of Defense in Berlin and at the political foundation Konrad Adenauer in Brussels. This summer he has opted to work for the German Embassy in London.
What are the main lessons you have taken out of the three internships mentioned above?
The main lesson I have taken out of my three internships is that it is of utmost important to attend any kind of meeting, conference or event provided by the entity you are interning for. I have been very fortunate to experience some amazing events where organizations such as Google, Siemens, the German Bundestag (Parliament) gather for debates. You are able to learn so much more from professionals who are specialized in these kind of areas.
Another lesson which I would consider to have learnt from my internships is that they give you an insight into how a government ministry, embassy or a political foundation actually works. From the outside it may seem very straightforward, however, I have seen how on the inside there is an immense amount of preparation, research and structure involved in ensuring the institutions can continue to work.
Which one has been the most challenging and why?
In my opinion, the most challenging internship I undertook was at the German Embassy in London. Not only was it a great honor and privilege to work at an embassy which is located in the most multicultural city in the world, but I was also able to there during the United Kingdom’s process of Brexit negotiations and the political and internal divide which is currently present within both the government and country. It was an invaluable experience.
With the internship came a huge amount of pressure to be patient with the staff at the Embassy and try to make their job a little bit easier. This even meant having to attend conferences or events as an (undercover) agent for the embassy, to see what both sides of the parties are saying about Brexit. I attended “Global Britain” events, an institution which supported Brexit and is trying to campaign to the people that leaving the European Union can only bring benefits to the country. On the other hand, there were organizations such as Open Britain, who are strongly against Brexit and are trying to dismantle it or even to persuade the government for a second referendum.
However, it gave me a great inside scoop of what Brexit actually means to these people who are fighting for or against it, due to the fact that the mainstream media has been proven to be bias to one side of the argument. From listening to informed people at these events I have been able to listen and learn about Brexit, gaining more information than I would from any newspaper or news site ever.
What about the most interesting internship?
I would say the German Ministry of Defense in Berlin for me was the most interesting internship out of the three. This is because during the time I was working there, I was positioned in the Bilateral Relations department with the Eastern European countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, etc. It also gave me an insight into what kind of work the ministry does and also what it stands for. During my time working there I learned how Germany has one of the most advanced militaries in the European Union and is a great advocator for peace and stability in the World, for example: Germany’s aim to use soft power as a tool rather than hard power by orchestrating the Iran deal and the Minsk peace agreement. All of which fortunately took place when I was an intern there.
Can you share your favorite moments?
The most memorable moment have to be attending a political debate in the German Parliament, it was shortly after the Brexit vote happened and the ministers were discussing what implications it could have on Germany and Europe. Another favorite moment was visiting the European Parliament and Commission during my time at the political foundation.
What advice would you give to an incoming student who wants to focus on pursuing a career in diplomacy?
My advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in diplomacy is to firstly work on learning a new language. It will help you immensely as you can communicate so much better with other people from different countries. This will take you very far in the diplomacy sector. Also, my advice would be to network with people from different countries. Everybody has their own heterogeneous views on different topics which is why I find IE University amazing, due to the fact that we have so much diversity in terms of nationalities at this campus. This undoubtedly helps enrich our knowledge of the world.