Internship Postcard Series #4

María José Quirola
A EU-LAC Foundation Event

MPP student: María José Quirola

Location: Hamburg

Organisation: EU- LAC Foundation

During summer, I had the chance to further develop my understanding of Latin America, the Caribbean and EU partnerships through a three-month internship with the EU-LAC Foundation. I enhanced my abilities in communications and public relations, as well as knowledge in international affairs, all while immersing myself in the culture of the organization.


Getting to Know the EU-LAC Foundation

In the heart of Hamburg, Germany, lies the EU-LAC Foundation—an international organization founded in 2010 by an alliance of 61 members. This alliance comprises 33 states from Latin America and the Caribbean, the 27 members of the European Union, and the European Union itself. The Foundation's mission is clear: to fortify the strategic partnership between the European Union, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Maria with colleagues

Hamburg, especially during the summer, is a breath-taking city of canals, bustling streets, and a rich maritime history that mirrors the global connections the EU-LAC Foundation fosters. The internship programme, offered in 3-month cycles four times a year, was also a great chance to work and learn from other interns from member countries, which became an essential plus of this experience.

A Multifaceted Internship Experience

While my primary focus was on communications and public affairs, I found myself involved in a wide variety of tasks that allowed me to gain insights into various facets of the organization and collaborate with colleagues from many nationalities. Here are some highlights of my tasks and experiences:

1. Communication and Visibility Strategies

My journey began at assisting in the creation of communication strategies for two significant events—the Latin American and Caribbean Fall Festival 2023 and the Foundation's participation in the German Unity Day in Hamburg. Here, I further developed my skills for storytelling, content creation and translating policy narratives into captivating web content that reached across the Foundation's digital platforms and website.

I also took on the responsibility of developing a communication strategy to promote the Foundation's events across their main lines of action, including multilateralism, just transitions, knowledge, gender equality, and culture.

2. Social Media Management

A working day would include tasks like updating statistics, monitoring social media trends, and creating engaging digital content. Crafting posts to celebrate the National Days of member countries fostered a sense of unity among the diverse nations that make up the Foundation, as well as editing videos that engage audiences and motivate them to take part into events that follow up the recent EU-CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government which took place in Brussels this year. In addition, I had the opportunity to work in drafting the third edition of the 2023 Newsletter—a medium through which policy insights were conveyed to a broader audience.

3. Latin American and Caribbean Fall Festival

One of the most exciting chapters of my journey was supporting the 10th edition of the Latin American and Caribbean Fall Festival in the heart of Hamburg. This grand event, which fosters the integration of the Latin American and Caribbean diaspora in the city, was inaugurated in the historic City Hall, graced by the presence of consulate representatives and civil society actors. Beyond cultural exchange, it was a celebration of the policies and partnerships that drive international relations.

I played a key role in identifying participating civil society organizations, designing the event agenda, creating a social media communication strategy, and coordinating with suppliers for visibility materials. I also contributed to the inauguration of the event in the Senate and the creation of a video that gathered testimonials about key civil society actors in Hamburg.


Maria in Hamburg

Personal and Professional Growth

My internship at the EU-LAC Foundation served as a catalyst for both personal and professional growth. Professionally, I gained in-depth knowledge about the relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the organizations and key areas that are crucial to this partnership.

It was overall an enriching experience that contributed significantly to my professional and personal development, and where I found a vibrant Latin American and Caribbean community in the heart of this hanseatic city. The people I met and the experiences I gained have left a lasting impact on me, and I look forward to continuing my journey in the field of communication for development, outreach, and public affairs, with the knowledge and insights I acquired.

About the Author

María José Quirola

María José Quirola is a master’s student at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations with minors in Sociology and Political Science. Her work experience focuses on communicational and administrative work ON refugee and migration affairs. Her interests are cross-cultural communication, migration, gender, and integration.

~ The views represented in this blog post do not necessarily represent those of the Brandt School. ~