European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) is a European network which brings together cultural organisations from around the world and fosters cultural relations with its over 133 clusters. The Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux had the honour to hold the presidency of the EUNIC Brussels cluster in 2021-2022. Here at the Institute, we had the chance to host two fantastic EUNIC interns during this period. Our last EUNIC intern, Chloé Chabannes-Delcourt, writes in a diary about her time in Brussels and at our office. This marks the end not only of Chloé’s internship, but also of our presidency. Thank you Chloé for being with us and thank you to all our EUNIC partners!
My internship at the Finnish cultural institute is almost over. How fast did these last six months go! I still remember the first days, meeting all the staff, these wonderful women, the induction days to the institute, Tiina, who is in charge of financial and administrative matters, showing us around in the office and explaining the guidelines and Christina, the previous EUNIC intern, explaining what the cluster is all about. Ela, our communication officer, started the same day as I did and Sonja, the intern in project and communication, only a week before. I remember the picture at place Poelaert we took to present us three to the public and us bonding already. I remember the team building day right from the beginning when I got to know all of my colleagues a little better.
The beginning of the internship, as any other beginning, was not particularly easy. So many partners and various tasks. But with hundreds of self-made organisation lists and Christina’s handover, I managed smoothly. In the EUNIC Brussels’ cluster, I was particularly lucky to encounter kind and open-minded colleagues from all over Europe. The communication was always easy and respectful. As a communication and project assistant to the cluster of EUNIC Brussels, my main tasks in brief were on the one hand to coordinate the projects that the members of the cluster organise (organise meetings, provide and update information) and on the other hand to manage the internal and external communication of the cluster (connecting people, communicating the cluster’s activities to the network and on social media).
However, I also got the chance to participate in the Finnish cultural institute’s activities, that means all cultural events, weekly meetings, social responsibility meetings, team building days… I enjoyed work, I enjoyed going to the office, I enjoyed the atmosphere that Laura, the director, created where there is trust, serenity, kindness and flexibility in the workplace. I believe all my colleagues participated in enriching the workplace. I am thinking of Laisa in terms of intellectual inputs, Malin with her open-mindedness, Ela with her kind heart, Tiina being so caring and Sonja being always there for me.
My personal life has not been easy in Brussels and I am convinced that working at the Finnish cultural institute helped me get through these difficult moments. The office felt like a safe space where I should not be afraid to be myself. I believe this is what I will remember for the future: it is not so much what you do, but who you do it with that matters.