Ivana Petričko

Ivana Petričko

What extracurricular activities did you do during your studies?

My priority was to maintain a high grade average for the purpose of getting knowledge, but also for the many benefits I received because of it. But quickly I realized that I couldn't accomplish my goals with a scarce CV and a rich index. On my second year I started to apply for different short-term and long-term student exhanges, from Norway to Greece... I would like to single out four of my most significant accomplishments: student exchange program at the Humboldt Faculty in Berlin, summer school in Košice, Slovakia on the topic of development of local politics, then working on a project Lokalokracija under the mentorship of professor Drezgić where I was project manager and lastly, I was an teaching assistant to professor Vitezić and ass. prof. Dejan Miljenović. Those are the times that bring the most memories, that shaped me as a person and enabled me to become who I am today.


What did the path to the European Parliament and Ms. Ivana Maletić’s office look like?

It went very naturally, I would say. I am always happy to remember a study visit organized by the ass. prof. Cvečić on which we visited some EU institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg. I was on the last year of my graduate studies, under a lot of stress, like most of my colleagues, because of my uncertain future and a million combinations were in my head. When the group parted, I found myself standing alone in front of this huge EU Parliament building and though: Who works here? There is no chance that I will be employed here, this is the dream… And then , under a set of circumstances, in only two months, I got a job in the office of spokeswoman Maletić, four years ago. Brussels is a multicultural city where over 50% of people are foreigners. Life is very fast paced and there is lots of opportunity for career development.

 
What did your beginnings in the European Parliament look like?

Like in everything, the beginnings of a job are the hardest. At first, I encountered a lot of problems, but I was happy to stay in the office overtime and find the solutions myself. I can now say that that was the period that strengthened me the most. In only a couple of months I got a fairly challenging task, at least for me at the time, which was to write an article for Informatics Monthly I’M (a monthly magazine published by our office used to inform the public on regional politics and related topics important for Croatia) on the topic of analysis of Croatian competitiveness based on the results of the Yearly competitiveness report. Since then I have been regularly following and analyzing all competitiveness reports.


Can you compare life in the heart of EU and in Croatia? The educational systems?

In Croatia, life is a lot more relaxed. The relationship that young people have with work there is quite different because the society is kind of forcing youth to finish their higher education without offering them jobs on the other end. People in Croatia often enroll at a faculty because they don’t know what to do with their life at the time, so they finish it with average grades with no extracurricular activities and then expect to get a job easily and will not accept any job. Here, a young person is encouraged to get a lot of international experience, internships, additional training through many programs, while in Croatia it is left to the individual to pursue. I believe it is very important to encourage students at a younger age to think creatively, to negotiate business, to strengthen their language skills etc. because those are the values that an employer will someday ask of them.  Be those people to iniciate. Have faith in yourself and in society, use your potentials and society’s potential, engage and you will get everything you dreamed of.


What is your work day like?

The work day begins at about 9 in the morning and it lasts until all obligations are finished, oftentimes to the late hours of the night. Time goes by quickly in the European Parliament because there is a lot of activities at the same time, such as board meetings, conferences, visitations from different interest groups…


What challenges do you encounter? How do you deal with them?

It is a very dynamic and challenging environment because every day is different and every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Stress is present like in any other job, but everything is happening so quickly that we have no time to worry about it because it is usually time to take over another activity. It all becomes a part of your daily life. All of my assistant colleagues from the Croatian delegation are young, smart and ambitious people so we all help each other out if we get ‘stuck’. To succeed in work you need to believe in yourself and have a positive attitude.


Do you attend any additional education and courses?

We are offered a lot of opportunities here, from seminars where we are thought the legal proceedings of the EU to French, English or some other language courses. I enrolled at a specialization program at the LSE so I don’t have a lot of time for any other extra courses. 


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