Internships in Europe—Journal Requirements

Analytic Journal for PSC 397 European Politics Internship

Our internships require you to keep a journal for you to receive a letter grade. While your journal should include a description and evaluation of your daily work in the internship, it should primarily be analytical. An analytic journal is not meant to be a research paper. The substantive content of the analytic component will vary depending on your internship and on your interests. You should use the theoretical knowledge and skills you have acquired in your coursework (both at home and abroad), combined with any relevant experiences you have had to place your internship experiences in a broader context and to learn from them.

You should reflect upon how the slice of European politics that you experience compares with American politics (especially party and legislative processes) and with the images, models and descriptions of your host country's politics found in scholarly and journalistic literature about representation, politics, and policy processes in contemporary democratic political systems. It is also appropriate to discuss and to analyze political events that occur even if you have no direct involvement in them through your internship.

Several examples may clarify this discussion. One student said that she had attended a committee meeting in Parliament shortly after studying the committee system in the British Politics course. The committee system she observed differed from the textbook description of a committee system in action in several important aspects. She tried to explain and use her knowledge of the political system to understand the differences.

Students often comment on the party loyalty observed in Parliament, frequently mentioning the disadvantages associated with following the party line. Very few students observe the positive side of such a party system in terms of voters being able to hold candidates accountable for government actions. Be sure to take your analysis the next step beyond the obvious. Many students make interesting comparisons between working in politics in another country and working in politics in the U.S. If you have had a comparable experience, use it as a basis for comparison; but be sure you know your American politics.

One student in Brussels compared constituent perceptions of the job of a Euro MP with that of a British MP. Another student discussed the differences in attitudes toward Europe between party members who were Euro MPs and those who were MPs in the home country. Other students have discussed the electoral structure that selects Euro MPs.

If you are working outside the government structure in a law office or in the government affairs office of a corporation, for example, apply the same logic of analysis to your system. If you have worked in a comparable organization in the U.S., compare the two and try to understand the differences in terms of differences in the political system or in terms of other relevant factors. Try to understand how interest groups and/or legal institutions fit in the broader political spectrum. An economics major in a law office might contrast the economics of crime in Britain versus the U.S. A psychology major might discuss differences in jury behavior depending on differences in the selection process in the two countries. Keep in mind that these internships are political internships and all the other comments about politics internships apply to them also.

Some additional practical comments:

Instead of discussing a large number of topics superficially, choose a small number of topics for detailed analysis. You may wish to follow a few topics throughout your journal. You might, for example, raise questions in an earlier entry that you return to in a later entry. Typically, analysis involves asking questions, finding relevant information to address the questions that were asked, and drawing conclusions based on the evidence to answer the questions, and perhaps raise further questions. Be sure to discuss evidence that disagrees with your interpretation as well as evidence that agrees with it. Use all the facilities available to you in studying a subject—for example, ask questions in your internship, and use a library.

Plagiarism:

Normal stipulations about plagiarism apply. See the statement on plagiarism.

Journal Length:

Limit the length to a maximum of the equivalent of 20 pages of 250 words each. This is easily adequate for you to cover the material needed. Content is much more important than length. Number each page of your journal and date each entry. Write your journal in English.

Sending your Journal:

Be sure to send your journal to the Center for Study Abroad in Rochester so that it is received within two weeks of the end of your program. Do not fax your journal. Your journal will be returned to you.

Be sure that your journal is legible. You need not type your journal unless your handwriting is hard to read. Send the original (copies are often not very readable), but BE SURE TO KEEP A PHOTOCOPY. Please do not send in any supplementary material beyond your journal.

Journals received more than four weeks after the program has ended will have their grades lowered by 1/3 of a point (e.g., A- to B+, B+ to B). Journals cannot be accepted for evaluation eight weeks after the program has ended, without exception.

Breach of Professional Courtesy:

University of Rochester guidelines prohibit any personal use of your internship’s office stationery and supplies.  This includes any envelopes, copier paper, correspondence notes, or letterhead.  If your supervisor indicates that you may use a departmental printer to print your journal or personal correspondence, you must supply the paper. Printer paper, notebooks, envelopes and the like are reasonably priced and are widely available at stationers and department stores everywhere in Europe.  Questions concerning the use of your supervisor’s office equipment and property, such as computers, typewriters, copiers, fax machines, or telephones, are to be directed to your Internships in Europe on-site director. Nota Bene: Journals submitted on stationery embossed or watermarked with your office’s logo, or mailed in an envelope belonging to an office or department will have grades lowered by one full letter grade, e.g. A- to B-, or B to C.

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