German Department Alumna Livia Rrokaj Successfully Completes IPS Program in Berlin
At the beginning of March, I received the opportunity to take part in the IPS (Internationales Parliaments-Stipendium) Program at the German Parliament. This five-month long traineeship engages a multicultural group of students from multidisciplinary fields within the workings of the Deutscher Bundestag (German Parliament). Some of the central goals are to build relationships between the various countries and Germany, foster tolerance and acceptance between peoples, and promote cultural diversity and social harmony.
During the program I observed and participated in workshops on topics of German Democracy, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Erinnerungskultur (Culture of Memory), and Digitalization. I audited media work at ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) and Deutsche Welle and was able to visit Bonn and various cities within Bayern, all in the interest of learning more about the functions of the German Democratic System.
As part of the program, each participant also completes a three-month internship at the offices of one elected parliamentarian. For my internship I worked in the SPD Office of MdB Timon Gremmels. As a Canadian citizen working in the Bundestag, I really felt like a fish out of water. Not only was the parliamentarian work unfamiliar to me, but so was the etiquette and daily work routine in Germany. Despite these difficulties I motivated myself to both engage in the German political system and to learn the German culture, values, and way of life.
During my internship I assisted the offices of Herr Gremmels in the context of the Petitions Committee and the Committee for Economics and Energy. From my three colleagues I learned about the day-to-day workings of the office and the structure of work within the committees and parliament. Within the three-month period, I also visited Herr Gremmels’ electoral district of Kassel, where I also learned about the work completed in the constituency offices. One of the most rewarding experiences of the program was engaging with the individuals that helped to elect Herr Gremmels into the Bundestag. It is here that I also received the opportunity to meet SPD Politician, Herr Martin Schulz, Herr Norbert Walter-Borjans and with Ms. Susanne Selbert, whose grandmother Ms. Elisabeth Selbert is considered one of the four Mothers of the Constitution of Germany.
For me the five months were a very interesting time. I was able to gain a very good insight into the everyday life of a Member of the Bundestag and his staff as well as into the German way of life. This time has greatly stimulated me to more political and social engagement. Overall, I am very happy to have made these new, important, interesting and memorable experiences.
Link to program: https://www.bundestag.de/ips