During the summer of 2017, I had an opportunity to do an internship for the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) in Brussels, Belgium. Because the internship was unpaid, I was able to participate through the generous support of the ILR International Travel Grant.
The ETUI is an independent research and training center of the European Trade Union Confederation - an organization which affiliates European trade unions into a single European umbrella organization. They do research in the area of industrial relations, focusing on socioeconomic topics and European policy developments relevant to the world of labor. As a hub for labor research in Europe, they bring together the world of labor and the world of academia. Based in Brussels and cross-European in their work, they offer uniquely international insight and perspective.
My research focus at the ETUI were posted workers. A posted worker is an employee who is sent by his employer to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis. Those workers are not granted equal treatment with nationals and are often in a particularly precarious position. My work specifically focused on workers’ rights of third country nationals that are posted within the EU via Slovenia, my home country.
I feel very privileged to have had the experience of working for one of the most prominent labor research centers in the EU. Under the mentorship of the ETUI staff, I have been able not only to increase my understanding of said topic but also to experience the ins and outs of academic research. I am highly convinced I will benefit from it during the rest of my stay at Cornell and later in my career.
During my stay at the ETUI, I also had an opportunity to attend several conferences and talks pertaining to the world of work. Topics that were covered were some of the most salient in the field right now, discussed by scholars and policy makers from the EU. Brussels is one of the most important cities in the EU, and opportunities and possibilities for learning and networking are endless there.