BELGIUM. Melanie Glodkiewicz. Born in a multi-cultural environment, it has opened my mind to an interesting path in the following years mixing ambition and hunger for new discoveries. I am a Belgian born student, with polish parents and have lived part of my 21 years of life in Ireland.
After a short experience in a development project in Benin at the age of 16 with Défi Belgique Afrique, I have finished a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science where my ambition was to understand political systems in order to change something in our society. Therefore, I have continued my studies with a Master’s degree in international relations and specialising in humanitarian action at the Catholic University of Louvain. This is my current situation, during which I have understood the importance of having practical experience. Indeed, what has often bothered me is the distance between the level of decision-taking and the fields concerned by the policies. Having one foot on the field and the other in policy making is something that I think allows to take realistic decisions in the humanitarian sector.
“My name is Melanie Glodkiewicz and I am currently finishing my MSc degree in International Relations with a specialisation in Humanitarian Aid at the Université catholique de Louvain, in Belgium. As part of my study programme, I am doing an internship at Human Rights at Sea. I have chosen to do an Erasmus internship, as in my opinion it gives me a broader point of view of NGO functioning in the humanitarian sector.
My aim was to gain more practical experience that would be linked to my study field which is specifically focussed on the ongoing migration crisis. During the past month, I have learned and achieved much more than what I would have ever imagined and I will be forever grateful to the Charity for giving me this opportunity.
More specifically, I have been handed opportunities with a good amount of responsibility, and a well measured dose of pressure that has strengthened my work experience in the NGO sector, and developed my profile from a professional point of view.
Here are examples of what I have achieved and the tasks that I have completed in only a month:
Case studies: I have been handed sensitive information to transform into case studies that will be handed out to international organizations and States. Giving a voice for the people whose individual human rights have been abused is very rewarding from a personal point of view. This task has thought me how to build such cases with a legal point of view, to which I could add on my personal knowledge.
Moreover, the case study that I have written has been translated into French, one of my mother tongues, which allowed to help the Charity and the people in question in this specific case to have the information spread wider than to only English-speaking people and organisations.
I would qualify this task as the greatest achievement of my internship.
International Maritime Human Rights (IMHR) Conference: Taking part in the organisation of the IMHR Conference was another part of my internship at HRAS. Being part of the promotion of human rights of people at sea has been very interesting as I have been given the opportunity to understand what organisations were involved in this team, as well as the different existing standpoints in getting involved in the particular subject. I have been able to widen my network of contacts that I hope will give me a leg-up during my future career.
Sea-Watch – HRAS Blog: Throughout the month that I have worked with HRAS, I have written several articles for the Human Rights at Sea and Sea-Watch common blog. This task has boosted my experience in writing factually correct articles with a certain legal point of view. The most interesting was getting involved with the different reactions to the content from people and organisations. Being able to handle mixed-reactions and justify the articles in questions is also what I have learned in addition to constructing and writing credible articles.
More than the previously cited specific tasks, I have also completed more minor ones involving the proof-reading of presentations, putting the Charity in contact with people that I have met while completing my intern tasks, but also publicising the Charity’s work on social media.
I will now be seconded to Sea-Watch, a German-based SAR NGO in Malta. This part is aimed to help me acquire field-based experience. I will therefore be in regular contact with Human Rights at Sea to help me use and apply what I have learned during the past month in the field.
At the end of the internship programme, I am hoping to come back to my faculty with a better field (and office) understanding of my specialisation that I will be able to reflect through the strengthened credibility of my work, and Master thesis.”