“Everything I was working towards came true in one day.”
Anete Kleinberga is a current student in the International and European Union Law masters programme at RGSL, but her day job is as a Consular Secretary at the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In this brief discussion, Anete explains how she came to study at RGSL and how the university prepared her for her new career in The Hague.
Could you tell me about your role at the Embassy at the Netherlands and what your responsibilities are there?
AK: I will start with the very technical part: I am a consular secretary, and my main duty is to deal with the citizens. I issue them passports and help in all kinds of other situations. But I am also engaged in a lot of other activities. In this embassy we are trying to avoid hierarchical relationships between team members, so sometimes I get to organize events, sometimes I get to go to briefings, sometimes I get to write reports.
And how long have you been working at the embassy?
AK: I assumed my current position on 1 November of last year, but I arrived to the internship in March 2017. So together I have been here for a year.
What led you to RGSL? Why did you choose to study there and what was your journey to get started?
AK: After graduating high school I first went to study in France, but I was told that that could be an experience that I might not like very much, and it appeared to be true. I decided that I needed the rhythm I was used to of working every day, and RGSL provided that through an international education at home with a very tough schedule (that I wanted!)… I thought that great things could also be achieved in Latvia, and RGSL was a good platform to start.
What were some of the highlights of your experience at RGSL?
AK: I would say the relationships that I formed, especially with the professors who came from abroad. They opened up a window of opportunities… the open-minded and broad perspective was guided by the international professors.
Did RGSL help you to find your internship and prepare you for the experience?
AK: Absolutely, from beginning to end. I didn’t know that the opportunity existed, but I learned that my previous fellow students had gone to that internship and that there was a place available… I thought it would be a good way to make a shift in my career and try to work in foreign affairs.
And are there things that you learned at RGSL that you apply on a daily basis in your job?
AK: Yes, everything! From having the knowledge of EU institutions and ther relevance and hierarchy and the interplay between them, as well as knowing other international institutions. When I was writing reports as an intern, I definitely used that knowledge to structure my reports. And I was told that I was good at it - that if I didn’t get a job at the embassy that I would certainly find work somewhere else.
So the training that they gave you was very applicable to your work, it wasn’t just theoretical knowledge.
AK: No, and sometimes in my studies it seemed even too practical. They used a lot of presentations as a method of teaching, group work, and sometimes I thought that it was a bit too much and that it should be more academic. But I think they probably knew better… Because work at the embassy is also about communication and about working in a team, and I learned those skills at RGSL.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience in getting from RGSL to the Netherlands?
Just that it was unexpected - it happened fast. Actually, everything I was working towards came true in one day when I was offered the position!
Anete will complete her masters programme in International and EU Law in June 2018.