Diplomatic traineeship at the Permanent mission of the Republic of Lithuania to the International Organizations in Vienna
My first experience as Erasmus student has been on exchange studies in France. This period of my life gave me a lot and made my dream come true. I became a stronger and happier personality, I met many wonderful people. When I found out that I can participate in Erasmus + graduates internship I knew that I do not want to miss this opportunity. Last year I’ve finished Vilnius University in the marketing and global business field. Although my internship is not entirely related to my completed studies, but I have always liked challenges in life. Thus, I tried another field – and it was one of the best decisions – because I found myself in the place where I did not have to count the time till the end of the working hours. I have never seen myself so passionate about anything.
The 6 months in Permanent Mission of the Republic of Lithuania in Vienna will be remembered as one of my favourite working experience. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control and the promotion of human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections and etc. All meetings were held just 10 minutes away from our representation – at the the Hofburg Palace, where previously lived the Habsburg dynasty members who ruled Austro-Hungarian Empire, now there is the official presidential residence, reserved by the family jewels, as well as the OSCE headquarters. At the entrance to this palace I got a special nominal permission with photograph and represented country – only by scanning the card I was able to pass through security and enter the inside for the ongoing meetings.
My daily activities included many different tasks ranging from support in preparing official position [discussion, background information, speaking points, press statements and etc.] of Lithuania for the OSCE and UN meetings. I had the chance to attend various conference and meetings such as: climate change and security conference, expert meeting on the role of intermediaries, wassenaar arrangement plenary meeting, human dimension, security committee meetings, advisory committee on management and finance meetings, working meeting on OSCE mine action activities in Ukraine and later I had provide reports. On Thursday‘s we always had Permanent Council meeting, where I had opportunity to listen interesting people reports, for example: German Foreign Minister Frank – Walter Steinmeier, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria – H.E. Daniel Mitov, Representative on Freedom of the Media – Dunja Mijatović, Defence Minister of Georgia – Tinatin Khidasheli and etc.
After the presentations of the report, the time was given to the countries to be heard. It is unbelievable opportunity to see how things are going from the inside, to deal with the real diplomacy, to hear speeches by professional people, to watch how some ambassadors argue and cannot find a compromise on certain topics and to build a realistic impression on what is happening in the world.
This internship has taught me appropriate diplomatic approach to certain situations. I enriched knowledge about the foreign policy goals and objectives of the Republic of Lithuania in the OSCE and UN, as well, I got acquainted with ways and means of implementation. This experience is a professional benefit – I have learnt the diplomatic properties also improved my English, because all meetings and conferences were held in English, and, of course, I am very proud that I had a chance to work in such an important and high-level organization.
Also, I am very glad to have had friendly, good-natured, always helping work team, which consists of one large family, to which I felt very kindly accepted. I was always going to work with a smile on my face, and the working atmosphere was indescribable. When I had a hard time understanding something I always received a response and support.
Perhaps it goes without saying that Austria is likeable among tourists. Fabulous beauty of nature, cities, located between mountains and lakes, the capital Vienna with its unique architecture is like an open air museum. It is also dynamic, modern and cosmopolitan European capital of the country with a very high standard of living. Probably not a coincidence that this town locates a number of international organizations, one of them (UN) headquarters and several branches of the organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the already mentioned my OSCE.
I am very thankful that I got the opportunity to fulfill my internship at the Permanent mission of the Republic of Lithuania to the International Organizations in Vienna!
By Greta Babenskaitė (VU graduate)