Alumni Spotlight: Kristina Porzio


What originally inspired you to intern in Germany with EPA?

Studying abroad was always something that I knew I would do. I chose to intern through EPA because I saw an opportunity to have not only a life-changing study abroad experience, but also to walk away from it having accomplished something meaningful. I chose Germany because I wanted to challenge myself to become immersed in a foreign culture and language, and improve my language skills. My intention was to challenge myself as much as possible in a foreign environment, and when I discovered EPA I realized it was the perfect fit.

Describe your day to day activities as an intern in Germany.

I wake up daily at 7:00 am, and eat a typical German breakfast of Brötchen and Kaffee. I leave at around 8, and take a tram to the subway. I then take the train 3 stops and come out daily in front of the Brandenburg Gate. My office is located on this road, Unter den Linden. I am an intern from 9:00-4:00, and I do things such as updating databases for my office and working on the website of the Social Democrats. I attend the meetings that my office goes to, and so I get to sit in on the preparations for Parliament sittings, and I can attend those as well. There are intern meetings on Wednesdays where I can meet other interns, usually ending in an evening out. By the time I get home every night, it's usually dark and cold. Then I get up at 7:00 and do it again. There are many great things to do in Berlin on weekends, and lately I have been travelling when I get the chance.

How has this experience impacted your future?

The most obvious impact I've experienced is that I've chilled out, a lot. I am constantly pushing myself to be successful in everything I do, and I realize now that I was pursuing so many things that I had no time to enjoy life. Berlin has taught me to read, think, communicate and be happy. There were so many great things about my life in Florida, and I spent most of my time in the library or working. I am so happy when I think of my family, friends and life back home, and I know what needs to be changed. Simply, Europe has taught me how to be happy. I know that when I return to America, I will try to break away from the "hamster wheel" life where I keep running but I'm going nowhere. Professionally, my time here has solidified my goal to study international law. For me, this has become the most interesting possible profession and fulfills my desire to lead an unconventional life. These two ideas don't contradict each other, though- I simply realized that the way to be successful isn't by driving myself to unhappiness to reach the ever-elusive "future happiness", but rather by also enjoying the present.