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Omar Al Sadeh: ‘My heart told me to go to Foreign Affairs’

Trail, FGGA’s internship platform will be one-year old in November. In the upcoming weeks, we will be interviewing some FGGA students who went on internships. What did they learn from their internships? And what tasks were assigned to them?

This time, we spoke to Omar Al Sadeh. Omar completed the bachelor Security Studies and is currently enrolled in the master Crisis and Security Management: War and Peace Studies. During his bachelor he interned at the European Parliament. He is currently doing an internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this interview, he talks about his experiences, tasks, and the differences between the two organisations. 

What did you have to do during your internship at the European Parliament?

Omar: ‘At the European Parliament, I interned as policy advisor with Samira Rafaela, Member of the European Parliament on behalf of Dutch political party D66. I worked on human rights and international trade. My tasks varied, sometimes I was busy writing a speech, but I also provided policy input on ongoing reports, took part committee meetings, or attended seminars. The variety is what appealed to me during this internship.’

Member of the European Parliament Samira Rafaela with Omar Al Sadeh

How did you end up at the European Parliament?

‘I have a huge admiration for Samira Rafaela, which is why I decided to apply with her office. I did this by sending an open application letter. You can get a position at a lot of different places within the European Parliament by sending an open application or by making use of the Schumann Traineeships. They offer traineeships at many different directorates within the parliamentary organisation. With Blue Book, you are posted to the European Commission. But you can also decide to apply directly with a Member of European Parliament, they offer internships on a regular basis. In short, there are plenty of possibilities.’

And now you are doing an internship with Foreign Affairs, how did you end up here?

‘I always knew that I wanted to do an internship with an international focus and am very interested in European politics and how international relationships work and are maintained. That is why I chose to do an internship at the European Parliament during my bachelor. But, of course, there are more places where you can gain experience on an international level. It is my dream to work in an international and diplomatic environment. I looked at different organisations and my heart told me to go to Foreign Affairs. This way, I am still working in an internationally focussed organisation while also obtaining experience within the Dutch diplomatic corps. This is a somewhat different discipline. But the tasks at Foreign Affairs are just as varied as the tasks at the European Parliament. At Foreign Affairs, I am working on analysing the relations between the Netherlands and the other countries that are part of the United Nations and the UN Council for Human Rights. It is more political, but there is also an element of diplomacy, which creates a different dynamic.’

Do you think it will be easier to realise your dream by doing internships at different places?

‘Yes, I think so. By doing internships, you gain experience. You can discover the many different directions and which tasks you like to or not like to do. This is how I found out that I enjoy working with different cultures. I would really recommend students to follow internships in different places. This way, you will find out where your qualities lie and in which areas you would like to continue to grow.’

Text: Abdelkarim Megaiz

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