Emily Vogel

Intern at the Institute of Baltic Studies, Tartu, Estonia

Emily spent 10 weeks interning at the Institute of Baltic Studies (IBS), a think tank based out of Tartu, Estonia that specializes in the development of social and economic public policies in Estonia and the Baltic Sea region. Throughout her time as an intern, Emily worked on the ‘Estonian Communities and Diaspora Members Abroad’ project, an ongoing study focusing on better understanding the opinions of Estonians abroad and aiming to contribute to policymaking measures in Estonia. One of her main internship activities was working on a case study for the Diaspora Project that focuses specifically on Estonians in the Chicago area in which she had the opportunity to conduct interviews and focus groups along with her supervisor. At the end of her internship, she continued work on the project in IBS’s office in Tartu, Estonia, which was the culmination of her internship experience.

“Interning at the Institute of Baltic Studies introduced me to the world of think tanks, allowed me to learn about the history and culture of Estonia, and deepened my understanding of how the subjects I have learned in my International Relations and other classes at Wheaton play out in the world of work. Building upon my already strong interest in Europe, my internship encompassed so many of my passions such as European politics, cultural studies, language, history, people, and all things international. The opportunity to hear Estonians’ stories first-hand through interviews and focus groups was not only fascinating but also helped me gain experience in the area of conducting qualitative research. Being in the office in Tartu was the ‘grand finale’ of my internship experience, allowing me to step into another culture and into a policy think tank workspace in-person overseas. These internship experiences, as well as being in Estonia, taught me how history and peoples’ experiences can so acutely affect the present and policies created today, as well as how good research can be the backbone for good policy. My time as an intern with the Institute of Baltic Studies has helped me further develop skills and helped me focus my academic and future career interests even further in on Europe and gave me an intern experience I can draw upon as I return to Wheaton and beyond.”