Intern Experiences

MEURO student Ashley Stuart was awarded the Prime Ministers Scholarship to intern at the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).
After spending the summer in Singapore, she reports back:

Ashley Stuart at the Asia-Europe Foundation in Singapore

“The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is an inter-governmental organisation who focus on strengthening Asia-Europe ties through a range of projects. I had the unique opportunity to intern for the Asia-Europe Foundation’s Political and Economic Department from October until December 2017. I was awarded a Prime Ministers Scholarship for Asia which assisted me in my travels and living costs whilst living in Singapore, where the Asia-Europe Foundation is based.

I arrived at ASEF mid-October and spent the first week learning about the organisation, the five different departments, their projects and the partners. This was invaluable to understand the functions of the organisation and its sole purpose which is to develop further networks that help strengthen Asia-Europe relations. I was impressed to learn that over the past 18 years the Asia-Europe Foundation has brought together more than 20,000 people from Asia and Europe and implemented over 700 projects covering the areas of Culture, Economy, Education, Governance, Public Health and Sustainable Development.

During my time at ASEF I predominantly worked on the Human Rights Seminar which was to be hosted in Bulgaria mid-November. The Human Rights Seminar was themed “Human Rights and Children” for 2017 and was attended by over 100 research experts, government officials, partners, and civil society members. This Seminar was by invitation only and gave me the opportunity to understand not only how ASEF run their projects but also the value of having government officials engaging and discussing issues with civil society members. I worked on the Participants Handbook which had information about each participant’s career and expertise in the field along with information about special guests, guest speakers from the UN, EU and the organisers, ASEF. This project was a unique meeting point for intellectual, cultural and personal interactions between Asia and Europe as members from all 53 Asia-Europe Meeting members attended. I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the project and having a role in planning it.

I also was given a role in researching and understanding another one of the Political and Economic Departments projects the Public Diplomacy Training Initiative where the NCRE is one of the key partners. I produced the official notes taken during sessions of the Face to Face Public Diplomacy Training that was held in Jakarta in October 2017 which also helped me understand the modules and the importance of training young diplomats in Asia and Europe.

I am extremely grateful for being given the opportunity not only to intern at ASEF but to experience a new and exciting culture in Singapore for 3 months. I was lucky to have been invited to several conferences, speeches and seminars during my time at ASEF hosted by Asia-Europe Foreign Ministries based in Singapore and also visiting the New Zealand High Commission to understand their work in Singapore. I have returned to New Zealand excited to begin the MEURO programme and to use my experience to take future opportunities that will help build my desired career. “

MEP intern 2013 report – Henrietta McNeill


2013 MEP interns Shivani Makwana and Henrietta McNeill with former EU Ambassador to AU / NZ David Daly

After a thorough application and interview process, I was selected as one of two EUCN postgraduate students to undertaken an internship in the European Parliament from September to early December 2013. I ended up interning with two Members of the European Parliament – Richard Ashworth (UK), and Hannu Takkula (Finland). Each was a different experience work-wise, but both offices were incredibly friendly and welcoming with shared lunches and dinners, and lots of laughs. I was able to attend the NZ-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and see how NZ fitted into it all as well.

In Richard’s office, I was given lots of constituency work, which involved solving people from the South East of England’s problems within the EU institutions, as well as working with local government to achieve things through the European Commission. Richard’s main interests (and Committees) were the budget, and agriculture, having previously been a farmer in Southland, NZ, where I am originally from. As I knew little about the budget, I was able to sneak into Assistants training courses, and learn about how it worked. I ended up writing a lot of media statements, written questions to the Commission, and Richard’s campaign strategy for social media. It is good to still see they are using the social media guidelines I wrote for the current elections.

In Hannu’s office, as I spoke very little Finnish, I was doing work that included writing articles, and following legislation changes and amendments on reports which Hannu was the shadow rapporteur for. This was really interesting for me, to see how legislation gets created, researched, compromised upon and passed within the European Parliament. To see the process through, I was able to travel to Strasbourg with Hannu’s team for a voting week. Strasbourg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and during that week, it was inspirational to be able to watch Malala Yousafzai receive her Sakharov Prize.

Living in Brussels, and its Euro-bubble, was fantastic. Not only for the wonderful food (Brussels has more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else!) and culture, but also the people. My flat had 8 people of different nationalities in it (I was the only non-European), so I experienced different cultures, foods, and languages all the time. We were all interns in different areas of the Euro-bubble, from the Parliament, to the Council and Commission, to lobbyists and embassies – this was an insight in itself as to how many people are involved in the European Union concept and all the different ideas and actions that occur on a daily basis in Brussels.

I would like to thank the EUCN for giving me the opportunity to experience Brussels and the European Parliament – this was invaluable to be able to see in reality what I had only learnt about in textbooks. I made some great networks and friends, and I was also able to undertake research for my thesis. Because of this experience, and knowledge gained on this internships, I am now a policy analyst in NZ local government, and one of two NZ delegates for the Y20 Summit on global economic challenges (part of the G20 Summit) working with EU counter-parts.  I hope to return to Brussels in the future, and do much more with the European Union.


Kirsten Mander, Full Text
Jane Neilsen, Full Text


European Parliament Internship: September 2009 – December 2009

Nicholas Smith, Full Text
Genevieve Taylor, Full Text
Kathy Errington, Full Text


European Parliament Internship: September 2009 – December 2009

Timothy Armitage, Full Text


European Parliament Internship: September 2008 – December 2008

Yoon Ah Choi, Full Text


EUCN European Parliament Internship: September – November 2007

Jordan Carter, Victoria University of Wellington. Report, Full Text (108KB) ; Power-point presentation (5.45MB)

EUCN European Parliament Internship: May-July 2007

Gina Deerness-Plesner, NCRE presentation on internship experience. Power-point presentation (pdf.3MB) Report, Full Text (pdf.179KB)


EUCN European Parliament Internship: May – July 2006: a report

Anita Wreford (May – July 2006) Full Text (doc.63KB)

EUCN European Parliament Internship: September – December 2006: a report
Simon Hollis (September – December 2006) Full Text (.pdf, 143KB)


NCRE European Parliament Internship: September – December 2005: a report
Frendehl Warner (September – December 2005) Full Text (.pdf, 238 KB)

International Business or Institutional Politics: The European Parliament Agenda
Sara Peary (February – May 2005) Full Text (.pdf, 51 KB)


European Parliament NCRE Internship Report 2004
Jamie Holder (November 2004 – January 2005) Full Text (.pdf, 116 KB)

Inside the Caprice des Dieux: NCRE European Parliment Spring 2004 Internship
Jeff McNeill (February – April 2004) Full Text (.pdf, 106 KB)

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