Amelie Stelter

Stay at EEGA: February – April 2024

My name is Amelie Stelter and I completed a ten-week compulsory internship at the EEGA in Leipzig in spring 2024. I am a student in political science at University of Heidelberg.

My personal research interests lie particularly in peace and conflict research, and with its focus on Eastern Europe, EEGA offered me insights into regions that are not usually at the center of conflict research.

From February until mid-April 2024, I was employed as an intern for 10 weeks at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL) in Leipzig. In addition to gaining insights into various departments and working on different projects, I spent a significant part of the time at Leibniz ScienceCampus Eastern Europe – Global Area (EEGA). I was able to rely on a dedicated and diverse planning and supervision by the EEGA coordinators.

In the following weeks, the people whose projects I worked on changed regularly. I found this variety to be very enriching and interesting, also because it allowed me to get to know different departments.

The skills and knowledge required varied from task to task. In some projects, I had to do a lot of research activities, e.g. for texts in French and English that dealt with the Ukraine war and its global and globalised effects on countries and regions. For another project, my explicit lack of geographic knowledge was required: for a map test, I had to analyse various maps using a methodology. On other occasions, I made coffee for a workshop, scanned contracts and created participant lists for an event. I am very content with the variety of tasks as well as the trust that was placed in me alongside.

I was also given the opportunity to take part in a workshop on “Militarisation and Space”. During these two days, I listened to very interesting multi-disciplinary lectures on the topic as well as the lively discussions that followed. Gaining an insight into the procedures of a scientific workshop (and also enjoying the vegan catering) was very enriching and is one of my highlights of the internship.

In particular, the internship helped me to improve my research skills by teaching me to search for facts and the like more precisely and effectively, even if the topic was largely unknown to me beforehand. In terms of content, it was interesting for me to gain a geographical perspective on different phenomena and to look beyond the classic political science lens of the nation state I am used to due to my studies towards regionalities, and thus recognise new geopolitical contexts.

I think that the internship was very useful for my future professional life, especially as the choice of a research institute as an internship location arose from the idea of working as a researcher at such an institute later on. Thanks to the wide range of tasks and insights, I feel that I have gained a relatively good overview of the activities of a research institute in a relatively short time, which in turn has strengthened my career aspirations. I learnt things starting from how to use a scanner and WordPress to writing newsletters for International Women’s Day and researching non-academic partners for research projects and literature. Working at an international and interdisciplinary research institution not only enabled me to get insights into its backgrounds and processes, but also helped me to improve my soft and language skills.

Although I had not set myself any specific learning objectives apart from getting to know a research institute better, I am very satisfied with my experiences, learnings and insights and am would definitely recommend an internship at EEGA and IfL.