So far my interview experiences have been relatively easy. Compared to the US I felt like these interviews were more informal and less stressful besides the confusing street signs (well the lack of visible street signs) and the cold rainy weather. At every interview I was offered some type of beverage which was great, especially since I can't recall ever being offered any refreshments in the US. This added to the relaxed conversational atmosphere that I felt at every interview. I think the best part about the interview a few of us had for MEP Rhoithova and Social Platform was that some of the questions where character and personality based which I think is important to note and often overlooked. A person may be able to perform the tasks and duties of a job proficiently but if their personality does not mesh well with others it can hinder the progress of an organization, especially these small offices.
The only real distinction I see between the Brussels and US business is culture is that showing up early to interviews does not necessarily mean that a person is responsible and prompt. Since the organizations or offices are so small there is not always an area to seat a guest and thus showing up early may put pressure on the host to either start the interview earlier than expected or go out of their way to find accomodations for you. Moreover, since the organizations are so small it seems very quiet at times which is not something I am accustomed to. NOrmally, there is a lot of chatter and livly interaction in the offices that I have worked for in the US but this assumption could be wrong once I actually start my internship next week.
My academic program is peace and conflict resolution which I think will work well with my internship with MEP Stastny who is focusing of trade negotiations with Canada at the moment. My Comparative Peace Processes class taught me much about the negotiation process and the intricacies of trying to come to an agreement about any issue. I believe this negotiation has been going on for 2 or 3 years now and the hopes of concluding this year are not high. This class also taught me that it is difficult to take an entity as large as the EU to come to an agreement in general due to the all of the actors who now have a stake in certain policies. Compromises will have to be made and many states either do not want to compromise or do not have the capacity to enforce a certain policy at the time so changes must constantly be made. It's difficult to get a group of friends to agree on a place to go for dinner; imagine that on an international level.