| Miguel Rodriguez-Gorman
Press and Public Diplomacy Intern, Washington Delegation
Originally from Born in the Canary Islands, but Derry is where I call home..
About your job: Generally, my job is to help inform Americans about the EU. A typical day would include answering all kinds of queries from the public (often very technical, such as import tariffs), organising events for students to visit our offices, or arranging for one of our officials to give a guest lecture at a University. It gives me the chance to speak to ordinary Americans about the EU, rather than the usual suspects in the academic circles and diplomatic community. Obviously good relations with the latter are very important, but it is absolutely great when you have the chance to receive a group of high-school students from New Jersey who have never heard of the European Union. Those are exactly the kind of groups we want to reach: tomorrow’s leaders. The best thing about the job is also the greatest challenge: the EU is not easy to explain. The institutions, how they work together and how they affect our lives is a mystery to many Europeans, so explaining it to American teenagers and helping them see why it is relevant is a huge challenge, which is why we are working on introducing teaching materials on Europe into schools in the US.
Why the EU? I just had to look at my own life: the EU has expanded my horizons. It has allowed me to live, study, work and even vote in 4 different European countries. The EU offers great mobility and opportunities for its citizens, and there is yet more we can do, even from the US. One example is the US Visa Waiver scheme, under which we can travel to the US without a visa for 90 days.
We are working hard in Washington to make sure that all EU citizens are treated equally.
How do you think Ireland has benefited most from the EU? I think the Euro has been the single biggest benefit Ireland has gained from the EU. It makes traveling and doing business so much easier. Remember the days when you had to change money and pay commission to go on holidays? Getting ripped off by the taxi drivers by thousands of pesetas? Having lots of left over coins that you couldn't change back? It was a pain… and I still experience something similar every time I go home to Derry! I can't wait until the North joins the euro-zone. That way I won't have to keep separate bags of change on my mantelpiece!
Based: Washington DC
Languages: I speak 5 languages, listed in order of fluency: I was raised bilingually in English and Spanish by my parents. I studied German and French from the time I attended St. Columb's College in Derry right through my University education. When I did my Erasmus in Germany (thanks to the EU!) I picked up Italian from my flat-mate Tommi, and we’re still great amici.
Books/Music: My favourite book is Murder in Samarkand by Craig Murray. I don’t have a favourite album, but I love Planxty!