Brussels is home to some of the EU main institutions such as the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament. A city capable of enclosing a large mosaic of languages and cultures, with lots of restaurants, clubs and a lively nightlife. With 80 museums, the Royal Palace and a rich history is also an interesting artistic capital.
In this charming city we “virtually” met Livia, 29 years old, from Pordenone, Italy, who is making a traineeship at ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, a non-governmental organization.
“I studied computer science at a technical institute in Pordenone and I always had a great passion for graphics. After graduating – Livia told us – I worked as a programmer, but my passion for drawings, sketches, images, animation and multimedia works has always been very strong and periodically the desire to practice that profession has resurfaced in me, so, while doing several jobs, I finally decided to take specialization courses in digital graphics“.
For Livia, the meeting with the Your first EURES job project was almost decisive, since it offered her the opportunity to follow what was her true vocation. “I met YfEj during the Pordenone Fair, an annual fair for graduates and for all young looking for a first or a new job; at the fair are presented courses and experiences abroad and on that occasion I attended a presentation of the EURES network about the job and traineeship opportunities abroad offered through the European projects”.
Job fairs are spaces where companies offer apprenticeships, vacancies and training courses. An opportunity to contact the HR managers of companies, attend conferences and seminars having professional guidance/counselling objective, as well as participate in selection processes for job offers, traineeships, scholarships or other professional opportunities offered by companies.
Today, due to the health emergency many of these fairs have become virtual, an opportunity to participate for free and wherever you are by means of mobile phone, tablet or personal computer, to establish a direct contact with companies via chat. Among these fairs, we remind the European Online Job Days : online recruitment events, which allow job seekers and employers to interact through a dedicated platform and to meet “at a distance” without being physically present at the event. Very useful days for job seekers and varying in type of participants, country and professional sector.
Thanks to her participation in one of these fairs Livia – after having finished her specialization course in graphics – started to follow the job opportunities offered through EURES and found the right one for her on the YfEj website. “It was a job offer for a social media manager in London, but due to difficulties related to the Brexit that offer was withdrawn. Fortunately, my YfEj Adviser, Alessia Vetere, helped me find an alternative even closer to my expectations, and here I am today in Brussels.”
As we know YfEj does not offer employment or traineeship at EU institutions and bodies or other similar international organisations or agencies (e.g. United Nations, OECD, Council of Europe, etc.) or at EU-funded networks and organisations, but all other organisations or businesses based in an EU or EFTA/EEA country (Iceland and Norway), regardless of business size or economic sector, can participate in the project as employers: “The European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA) is an organization dedicated to promoting good governance and citizen participation at the local level. ALDA, in particular, promotes activities that facilitate cooperation between local authorities and civil society in the European Union and in the neighbouring countries. As Livia explained to us, “ALDA was founded in 1999 on the initiative of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Powers; I am happy to do my traineeship here because the activities of this organization help to improve the understanding and sense of belonging to the European Union of citizens, stimulating intercultural dialogue and citizens’ participation; I follow the promotional part of the projects, from the preparation of the news, to the choice of photos or quotes up to their publication, I feel the importance of the topics we deal with and communicate them correctly, because … if no one communicates, no one knows!“
In Livia’s case, the choice of this professional experience was facilitated by a very specific interest: “the choice of European mobility – she explains – has a lot to do with my passion for music; It is thanks to listening to pop and rock music that I have improved my knowledge of the English language that has accompanied my whole life; I started as a young girl following the concerts of the Back Street Boys, I sang in English for various gospel choirs, then moved on to Californian punk rock and finally discovered a real, great passion for Elvis Presley music!”.
An interesting opportunity offered by YfEj, not only for Livia but also for her employer who had difficulties in finding a bilingual professional who was not only skilled in graphics, but who could manage contents in English and, at the same time, could interface the communication office of the organization that is based in Italy in Vicenza: “I have never felt so good in a working environment – Livia tells us – it is very important for me to feel immediately empowered and active part of a project, to work independently and receive a lot of trust, and then I am aware that working in a reality like ALDA contributes to improving the understanding and sense of belonging to the European Union of citizens, stimulating intercultural dialogue and participation. Today (May, 2020), we too, because of the health emergency, are working from home, especially to avoid taking public transports, but my work has not changed much”.
“I am very grateful to Your first EURES job for this professional opportunity – stressed Livia – and if possible I would like to give a suggestion for the development of the project: one difficulty that I was unable to overcome in the immediateness was that of choosing suitable accommodation, as soon as I moved; It would be nice if all of us participating in the Your first EURES job project would create an active community in each country to exchange feelings, opinions and above all information useful to the search and exchange of housing”.
A professional experience but, above all, of personal growth that lived by Livia: “thanks to YfEj the idea of staying, working and living abroad has become more concrete. My advice to those who want to follow my steps and make a mobility experience in Europe through YfEj is to take this opportunity since it helps you to learn more about yourself and it is a sort of ‘initiation’ to adult life. An opportunity to bring out your language skills and to learn how to do it yourself. Don’t think about it too much … and throw yourself into this experience! And if you then decide to return to your homeland … well, after this experience you will be definitely stronger!”