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How to pursue a career within the European institutions

Visiting the beating heart of European politics, namely, the European Council in Brussels, is a great opportunity for students. I was lucky to be able to join the visit, organised by the Career Service and Alumni Office last Friday. The primary purpose of the visit was to familiarize us with the work that is conducted at the European Council and provide us with information about how to successfully pursue a future career within the European institutions as a humanities graduate.

First-hand experiences of working and living in Brussels

During the visit, we were provided with a useful opportunity to network with experts and glean advice and insights from former Leiden University students. The day included presentations by Leiden alumna of History, Alexandra Ekkelenkamp, Advisor to the Director for Media and Communication at the Council of the European Union, as well as by representatives of the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the EU, Leiden alumna of Classics Liesbeth Versluis, and Twan van Erp. The speakers shared first-hand experiences of working and living in Brussels, thus, providing valuable insight into what a European career entails.

Useful and valuable skills

Brussels insider Ekkelenkamp shared her experience as a humanities graduate, discussing the highly useful and valuable skills that she gained through her studies at Leiden Faculty of Humanities. In particular, emphasizing the importance of being able to critically analyse large masses of information of distinct nature and in different languages, and make a story out of it.

Providing inspiration and identifying possible career opportunities

In addition to this, Leiden alumna of Classics, Liesbeth Versluis, underlined how the humanities broadened the scope and options in her professional career. Both presentations provided useful insights into the transferability of the skills that we acquire at the Faculty of Humanities to the work conducted within EU institutions. The day ended with a visit to the lantern in the European building, the seat of the European Council and the Council of the European Union, where EU summits, multilateral summits and ministerial meetings are hosted.

P.s. Insider’s tips: if you’re interested in a career in Brussels: make sure to read the Politico Playbook and Bloomberg: Brussels edition

Alexander Muskus, student MA International Relations

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