What Interning At Parliament Taught Me
For the past two weeks, I was an intern at Dr. Stefan Kaufmann's office. Dr. Kaufmann is a member of the Bundestag, Germany's federal parliament. I interned in his office in Stuttgart (a large part of Stuttgart is his constituency) for one week and then followed him to Berlin to see his work as a member of the Bundestag. I chose to apply for an internship in his office because I find his work inspiring and wanted to know more about it. Dr. Kaufmann has been very vocal about the need for equality for gay people and is working to improve education in Germany and ensure that all educational options are open to all.
To be honest, interning at Dr. Kaufmann's office held some surprises for me. I had not expected members of the Bundestag to be so close to the people in their constituency and so easy to reach. I guess living away from home for two years made me forget about the opportunity to write my representatives and be able to expect an answer.
Seeing the schedule of a member of parliament can get your head spinning but it is inspiring to see someone manage such a busy schedule because they really care about their work. I hope to have such resilience when working one day because it means that you truly love what you are doing.
While I was in Berlin, I also got to sit in on some of the debates in the Bundestag. Hearing different members of the Bundestag speak made me aware of the importance of your word choice. As a MUN delegate and chair, I had already become more sensitive to the connotations of different words in different cultures and contexts, but seeing the debates in parliament moved this understanding to a new level. Hearing the right-wring AfD paint pictures of crisis and hate with their words gave me a sense of the party's rise and the slogans and speeches that got them seats in parliament while I was away from home. The way an issue was phrased usually also determined the speaker's resolve to finding a solution or simply accusing others of creating the issue in the first place. This is a lesson I will definitely hold onto - as a MUN chair, debater, and student, there are enough problems that need solving all the time.
But I think the most important lesson I learned is how hard the work of our members of the Bundestag is. We, the voters, mostly contact them to tell them what we want from them but we do not often thank them for their work. But I would like to use this moment to say thank you. Thank you for listening when we call, for replying when we email you, and for showing up when we invite you. Thank you.
Lots of Love,
The picture for this article was taken by 李彦均 in Hong Kong.
WHAT I'M WEARING
Jacket - Tommy Hilfiger
Shirt - Zara
Trousers - Zara
Shoes - Adidas
Bag - Louis Vuitton