A Journey in the Public Office of Moldova

Alexandru Lopotenco, COL ’24, Chisinau, Moldova

This summer I had the chance to gain one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had by working alongside a member of the parliament in my country. Together with him and other state officials, I took part in the process of providing better shelter for the refugees fleeing Ukraine, worked on policies and met with high-level officials of my country.

Being in a country situated right at the border with Ukraine, we found ourselves in the middle of a refugee crisis, and I had the opportunity to stay in the frontline of its management. The funding Penn offered me for this internship really gave me the chance to fully direct my forces towards this objective and enabled me to travel across the country and act as a bridge between my country’s government and local authorities in regions with high numbers of refugees. For several days, I was in the field, in the countryside, or at specialized centers, observing and also contributing towards the implementation of new policies and laws that came to help refugees, but also the local population that has suffered as a result of instability and surge in prices caused by the war.

Being an intern for a member of the parliament didn’t only bring me closer towards working with the population and understanding their needs, but also taught me how to address those needs through policy-making. I have written and edited drafts of legislative projects and the best part of that was the thrills experienced whilst I was hearing my ideas and work being debated at parliamentary commissions. I learned by heart the path one should take to make a change, from the stage of an idea, to the stage of writing and shaping this seemingly simple idea into a well developed and complex project, to then presenting it and discussing it over and over with officials up to the moment of its voting and then monitoring its rightful and complete implementation by local councils.

Aside from gaining on field experience at the internship, I had the exciting opportunity to be in close touch with high level officials of my country. As part of the internship, I was extended invitations to official events at the government house, being able to listen and familiarize myself with the work of ministers as well as foreign specialists. I was even invited to take part in a talk with the president of my country together with a group of other interns. I had the opportunity to bring on my ideas to the table and communicate how I see we can improve the integration of the youth of our country into the workforce and how to stop the exodus in our country. Looking back, I reflect on the most impactful things I realized during my time interning. To start with, I learned that in order to advance a career as a leader in my country, I first need to understand the needs people have. Traveling to the countryside showed me a different reality through the discussions I had with local authorities, as well as simple citizens. Furthermore, I also learned how to tackle bureaucratic problems and gained an adequate kickstart to my prospective lawmaking career that I wish to pursue at home some point in the future, and I am hopeful that this path will culminate with a high-standing position in the government.

Overall, I can surely say that I will cherish each moment and new skill I have learned during my time as an intern. Thanks to the Career Services Summer Funding Grant and the Turner Schulman Human Rights Internship, I was able to fully profit from the opportunity this internship provided me. I am un-doubtful that this rich experience will be of great help for me in my future career goals.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2022 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services