Lebanese American University


LAU journalism student interns at a European Union agency

For the second time in two years, the European Union’s European Training Foundation has chosen an LAU student to intern at its center in Turin, Italy.

Soraya Dali-Balta in the European Training Foundation’s office in Turin, updating the center’s contact database by adding some information about the new members of the European Parliament.

Nominated by LAU for her exceptional academic profile and personality, Soraya Dali-Balta, an LAU communications arts (journalism emphasis) student, is spending her summer (mid-June till end of September) interning with the European Union’s European Training Foundation in Turin, Italy.

ETF was established in 1994 as a vocational training facility. Its mission is to help EU neighboring countries reform and ameliorate education, training, and labor market systems.

For the past two years, ETF has chosen two LAU students to intern at its center in Turin. Last summer, after being nominated by the university for her outstanding academic profile and achievements, LAU communication arts (journalism emphasis) student (now alumna) Sheeraz Moujalli underwent a competitive process to be admitted to ETF.

This year, though, the selection process was a little different.

Unlike her predecessor, Dali-Balta was immediately accepted as an intern at ETF after being nominated by Dr. Ramez Maluf, LAU associate professor of communication. Impressed by Moujalli’s work, ETF described (in an email sent to Maluf) LAU students as having “a strong commitment and a constructive spirit,” and expressed enthusiasm about Dali-Balta’s arrival.

An engaged student, Dali-Balta has previously worked with Future News, An-Nahar and Al-Akhbar newspapers, and co-authored a UNDP publication, 101 Stories to Tell, a project intended to highlight citizen initiatives in improving Lebanese society.

Maluf describes Dali-Balta as “politically committed without being abrasive about her politics.”


A real professional experience

In Italy, Dali-Balta’s workday starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. (with a one-hour lunch break in-between). She works in the External Communication Unit, and her responsibilities include uploading content to the ETF website, editing articles (especially in Arabic), and translating and writing pieces for ETF publications. She is both the youngest and the only Lebanese person at ETF.

When asked if she would recommend this kind of internship to other LAU students, Dali-Balta explains how “training in an international environment gives you ideas about how to be professional, punctual and really dedicated in what you do.”

“One of the positive things I’ve noticed is that people here trust you. It is a good sense of responsibility that I will need in my future,” says Dali-Balta.

She took this idea one step further, saying: “It would really help if people collect all the positive aspects from [their] international organization experiences, and once back in Lebanon, apply them here.”

She points out how opportunities like these do not come up every day. “If I wasn’t an LAU student, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to intern here. LAU has opened so many doors and thanks to Dr. Ramez Maluf, I am here in Italy right now interning at one of the European Union’s agencies.”


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