Brandon Sousa – 2016 Summer Employment Experience
Posted March 27 2017
As a final year Politics and International Relations undergraduate student, the opportunity to be at the heart of my home country’s international political relationships sounded like an ambitious fantasy. This opportunity, however, became an exciting reality for me during the summer of 2016. Thanks to the Government of Bermuda’s London Office and the Workforce Development Summer Employment program, I was given the rare chance to undertake ten weeks of work in the heart of London directly related to my long-time passion of international relations. Throughout my summer with the office I developed exponentially; both professionally and personally. Through exposure to the work of public office and diplomacy-in-action, I built numerous valuable skills whilst gaining rare, ‘behind-the-scenes’ insight to events of significance to Bermuda on an international level. In addition, the work I undertook and observed further helped to shape my interests, leading to detailed research objectives and specific career ambitions.
As my internship with the office started directly after Britain’s referendum deciding to exit the European Union, I joined at a time of profound importance to Bermuda and the British Overseas Territories more generally. The opportunity to gain insight to an international event of such importance through the internship was not only professionally invaluable, but also extremely interesting. The work of the office varies extensively in subject matter, which required a high degree of flexibility and accurate, up-to-date knowledge on a broad spectrum of topics. Though challenging, this enabled me to fine-tune my multitasking skills as I mastered switching between different modes of thinking and approaches, work depending. I was able to help support the work of the office in areas such as regulatory policy and international environmental protection efforts. This further added to the highly interesting nature of the job, as each day presented a new challenge with new subject matter; I truly did learn through hands-on experience. I also had the opportunity to be heavily involved in the office’s consular function, providing assistance to Bermudians in the UK concerning matters of public administration. This enabled me to further build upon general admin skills and professional communications. The opportunity to interact with fellow Bermudians on a daily basis served to further enrich my experience with the office. A portion of the work I undertook was also in regards to the public relations of the office, as I assisted in writing for and updating the website.
The team at the London Office is extremely invested in ambitious young professionals in this field of work, and this was obvious throughout the entirety of my internship. There was always encouragement to expand your knowledge and further develop yourself, evident in the opportunities the team offers to their interns. I was able to tour the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the desk officer responsible for Bermuda, a rare insight into Bermuda’s role in the bigger picture of Britain and its territories. In addition to this, I was invited to an event as part of the Joint Ministerial Council for British Overseas Territories. To be in attendance of a reception filled with key political figures and representatives of other British Overseas Territories presented a unique and extremely valuable networking opportunity and was, to say the least, inspiring. My summer was a learning experience not only in the office, but also outside of it! More generally, my internship greatly increased my appreciation for the island I call home. The opportunity to represent Bermuda in a professional capacity was something I took great pride in, especially given our respected reputation abroad. My experience with the office enabled me to learn aspects of Bermuda not achievable through the classroom, as I was able to understand and work on topics of importance to the Government and Bermudians more widely. I extensively built upon my existing knowledge of Bermuda’s politics, legislation, and history with guidance from the team, who were always enthusiastic to answer any questions I had.
Overall, my ten weeks with the London Office will truly never be forgotten. Not only is it a professional honour to be able to work with the team, but it is also a chance to develop multiple facets of your self. The broad subject matter and varying tasks of an intern ensured no two days were alike. I found myself awaking each morning genuinely excited for and looking forward to the day ahead. Further, the challenging nature of the tasks proves that interns undertake work that is important to the office as I was able to use my existing skills to meaningful contribute to its functioning. The opportunity is unique in that as much as you put into the office, you get out of it. Each experience truly felt like a lesson; I cannot quantify the amount of knowledge I attained through my internship. Working alongside the London Office team themselves also proved to be extremely valuable, presenting me with the opportunity to observe and learn from highly experienced and talented professionals who have much guidance to offer a young aspiring intern. The summer opportunity has had a profound impact on my future, helping to define my research interests and chosen career path. The work I undertook at the office lead me to have a high level of interest in matters of international economic relations, especially within the context of regulatory policy, leading me to undertake an LLM in International Corporate Governance, Financial Regulation, and Economic Law. I hope to utilise my education and experience to undertake further work for the Government of Bermuda in an international context. Thanks to the opportunity presented by the London Office and Workforce Development, I ended the summer of 2016 with more experience, more knowledge, and more inspiration than I could have ever anticipated.
All the thanks in the world to the London Office team for such an amazing opportunity.