Kim Graves, Alumna MA European Public Affairs

Kim Graves studied the MA European Public Affairs (EPA) in 2021/22, after studying Political Science at Heidelberg University, Germany. When we asked her what made the EPA programme so unique, she told us: “The EPA programme in Maastricht is unique in various ways. The most important aspect is the practical aspects of the course and the way it prepares you for working in and around the EU institutions in Brussels. Through many guest lectures from the institutions and the private sector, we got an extensive view into the work process and ambitions of all the actors in Brussels. These insights are perfectly complemented by the internship at the end of the academic year, where many of us found traineeships and internships in the institutions and the private sector in Brussels.”

Looking back at her time at Maastricht and FASoS, she said: “I look back at my time in Maastricht and at FASoS, realising how many opportunities UM gave me. There are so many different projects and associations you can join, but you can also pursue your own projects, which UM will support you with. I appreciate the space the university gave me to follow my own interests and the support I got from the staff. These structures eventually helped me develop my interpersonal and organisational skills and also gave me the confidence to apply for positions I would have not considered before my time there.”

About her student life, she stated: “With only 31 students in the cohort, we were a very closely knitted group. We organised a lot of trips and parties together. Next to the fun stuff, we also always helped each other with the assignments and projects we did for our course. I was the student representative for our programme, which meant I also worked together with other Bachelor and Master students to help improve the courses and the life at the faculty. Together we managed to set up an amazing Career Day and placed cupboards with free period products in the bathrooms at FASoS. My time at the university was surely very busy all of the time, the Master’s programme was very demanding and several projects (including a side job) next to the studies filled up the rest of my time. This helped me develop my skills in time management and improved my communication skills.”

Kim currently works as an Accredited Parliamentary Assistant for a German MEP in the European Parliament. “I found this job while looking for an internship for my master’s course. Luckily, I can fulfil the internship requirements of the course with this job. I work mostly in the office in the Parliament, but also can work from home a few days a week. I organise meetings and events for my MEP, I communicate and coordinate with other offices from the delegation and the group. I work with the Communications team, proofread press releases and consult on media strategies. The work is divers and always interesting.”

She told us that through the MA EPA she was able to gain a network within the Brussels Bubble. “Even before being there or working in Brussels. This enabled me to informally talk to many alumni about their work and their experiences, working for different employers which helped me make an educated decision on where I want to work. Time management was also something I learned during my time in Maastricht. The course was very demanding and I had a side job and projects at the same time. Next to the soft skills, I acquired where of course the knowledge of how the EU and Brussels worked and how different actors try to influence EU policies. This has proven a great asset, not only when applying for jobs but also when working in the institutions.”

She told us that she still keeps in touch with other students from her cohort and staff from FASoS. “My fellow graduates mostly also pursued careers in Brussels, so we come across each other in the professional environment as well as privately. We still organised drinks occasionally to catch up. Sometimes I meet my programme director Paul Stephenson in the UM Brussels Campus or we meet up for a coffee. The (teaching) staff at UM have always been very accessible to the students, no matter if it was for an assignment or personal matters. For me personally, I found support with my mentor, who helped me get through the tough process of piercing the Brussels Bubble. I am looking forward to joining the alumni events for my Master’s course and meeting the next generations of EPA students.”

June 2022