Bertold Rehberg Experience at FNF Beirut
Who are you? (Where do you come from and why did you look for an internship with FNF Beirut?)
My name is Bertold, holding a Bachelor´s Degree in Economics from the University of Greenwich in the UK. I was thinking of doing a practical year between my graduation and my master´s studies. Therefore, I decided to join the FNF Lebanon and Syria for a period of four months.
Since I am from Hungary, I had a different attitude towards the political term of “liberalism” than I most likely would have had if I grew up entirely in Germany (even though I was living there for eight years). Being politically interested, I was very familiar with the FDP and wanted to learn more about a foundation´s work abroad.
What were the two most important/exciting/interesting things you worked on while being with FNF Beirut?
One great thing was that I had to write an essay explaining the political situation in Hungary, the understanding of liberalism in the Hungarian society and the cultural differences between Hungary and Germany. Furthermore we had a team retreat in the beautiful village of Anfeh for a weekend what we all enjoyed.
What was different in Lebanon and Beirut and the office from what you expected before you came?
It was not my first time going abroad for non-touristic purposes (in fact, the 4th). The more frequently one is doing it, the smaller the surprise. I did my previous internship in Casablanca, so I kind of had an imagination how Beirut is going to look like. On the one hand it is more expensive, less fun and more crowded. On the other hand the food is ages ahead of the Moroccan and the society seems to be more liberal here.
The office is indeed very spectacular; it looks very modern and well equipped. Hint: If you go on the FDP website, you will be surprised how many “corporate identity” details you will recognize here far from Berlin. However, the most important in any office is not the equipment, but the colleagues. They are all friendly; everyone in his or her own way. Generally I enjoyed sharing the office with them.
Would you do this internship again? If so, what would you do different?
I would, however not by taking a year off (this was the only option for me). I realized that NGO work may not be something for me in the long-run since I am more into economics. But I absolutely do not regret coming here, since in order to find out how deep a river is, you have to step in. Especially if you are a politics student, this is one of the most prestigious internships you could ever get.
What could my future career look like?
I am going to do master´s in “Investment Fund Management” at the University of Glasgow starting in 2018. Indeed, it is very far off from politics and NGO work. However, I will keep up my passion for politics…maybe for a lifetime.
Freedom means for me…
…free speech - sometimes also beyond the comfort zone of others. I strongly reject engaging in politically correct language since I regard this as the beginning of censorship. Freedom also includes being free from economic bondages, which is very hard to achieve on a societal level.