AEGEE VALLETTA - CAREERS IN EUROPE
Graduations...what fun...buscades...lovely pictures with big white smiles with our funny hats and togas and a piece of paper rolled in our hands...ok festivities are finished...now what? Possibly one of the biggest challenges in a young adult's life is that of moving from student life to joining the work force. Hence, one has to study the different opportunities available really well. If this change involves also going to work abroad, then the number of changes one has to go through increase significantly. Yet, currently many students are asking questions about this opportunity. For this reason, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Schuman Declaration (09-05-50), on Friday 23rd April AEGEE Valletta organised a debate concerning opportunities to work abroad.
The debate, entitled "Graduation...Now what? Careers and Internships in Europe" addressed the problems experienced by youths who are currently trying to establish themselves in the working world by giving them much needed information on opportunities in Europe. Whilst being chaired by Ms Mariella Rapa, the panel included Mr Robert Grech and Ms Emma Calleja on behalf of the EP office, EURES representative Ms Christine Chetcuti, and EUPA representative Mr Antonio Olivari. Present in the panel there was also Mr Ian Agius who spoke about his experience on an internship program with the EP.
Though the EP is known for opportunities to work abroad, Mr Grech explained that being posted abroad
is not necessary in order to work within the EP or other European institutions. He also added that
Maltese speakers are lucky because since Maltese is only spoken in Malta, whenever there is the
requirement for Maltese language, this is usually limited to Maltese citizens. When asked about whether she believes that students are well informed about their opportunities towork abroad, Ms Calleja claimed that whilst there is a whole range of things that our students can do,most students do not know of all the opportunities available for them and that the majority know only snippets of information about what the institutions offer. Hence, she continued, the EP will be organising an event between the 4th and the 6th of May with the intention of helping those who are interested to learn more about the EP and the opportunities it offers. Ms Chetchuti, on behalf of EURES agreed with Ms.Calleja, that informing students of the possibilitiesthey have is not always easy. In the case of EURES, since most information is on their website, the candidate needs to be I.T. literate and this is not always the case with older candidates. Hence, she encourages those who are interested to work abroad to go to their offices for more information. With regards to grants and funding, Mr Olivari explained that EUPA distributes funds both to projects and to individuals. He also said that EUPA focuses on training people in non-formal ways in order to increase their likelihood of getting employed. Whilst on the subject, Mr. Grech reported that on behalf of the EP the basic salary is €2,700 monthly and that graduate students working for the EP are at an administrator level with very attractive wages and work conditions. Finally whilst talking about some of the difficulties he faced whilst doing an internship programme as a translator within the EP, Mr Agius explained that the major challenges he faced were related to cultural shock and other simple daily things, such as doing the laundry. Yet he enjoyed his experience a lot specially since he was able to meet different people with different ideas. The floor was then given to the attendees in order for their questions to be answered.