Since I arrived at day one of my internship in Italian Parliament, my personal mantra has been to keep an open mind and to be prepared to expect the unexpected. As most Italian parents do, my mom tried to make a useful analogy using food to help me out: “You have to be like a meatball and just roll with it!” Of course, it’s a slightly harder task for a third-year political science major to be calm in a country where both the language and the government are foreign entities. Naturally your senses become more heightened trying to adjust to this new world into which you’ve been thrust for the next four months. Fortunately, with time I have come to see that Italy isn’t such a bad place to work in politics as long as you maintain a flexible attitude and can adapt to different circumstances.
I must say that I love every minute of my job. I have joined the office at the peak of election season where the country will elect a brand new parliament. While most deputies deal with issues within the country, my deputy represents Italians living abroad, specifically in North and Central America. This means that, rather than seeking out votes within the country, our office primarily calls the United States, Canada, and Mexico to urge citizens to vote. To this end, the chief of staff has found me incredibly useful such that my primary duties have been to prepare emails in English and make phone calls to the states both to Italian consuls and citizens encouraging participation in these historical elections. It’s something I would have never expected to be doing in an Italian governmental office and oddly enough, it’s very similar to what I’ve done in my past experiences working for American politicians. Furthermore, it has created a very comfortable work environment for me in these first weeks on the job.
The office environment itself, while hectic in these days prior to the election, is on the whole very enjoyable. I like the people I work with very much; my boss is very nice not just to me but all the interns who come in and out of the office. Amongst each other, everyone is respectful and patient, especially with people like me who are still learning the ropes of Italian politics. It’s amazing to think that I was incredibly worrisome about my internship not two weeks ago when I arrived and yet now I don’t want to leave work at the end of the day because of all the excitement going on in the office. All that I have learned so far has been very interesting and I’m anxiously looking forward to my coming months in Rome to better understand the fascinating intricacies of this country’s politics.