Last week I hosted a student from the Czech Republic, Tom Cejnar, for a week’s work experience at Westminster. Here are his impressions of Parliament: “First of all I would like to introduce myself. I am a student of the final year at The English College in Prague, which is an english-speaking school in the Czech Republic. Next year I am very keen to take a course at Politics and International Relations or Politics and Law in the United Kingdom. These two areas of interest suit me mainly because it gives me a whole range of interesting topic from law as well as politics. Politics interests me, and I always like to see the differences between the Czech politics and compare it with a different political system. This time I had a chance to compare it with the politics of the United Kingdom.
I currently work for a Czech senator, who is a member of various selective committees. This is a very valuable work experience because it prepares me in practice, rather than in theory on what is politics like. I am able to attend many meetings of the senate, and later prepare summaries for my senator which is very interesting. This is a long term work experience, which can be done after school.
I found the internship a very good work experience in understanding what is the British political system like. The office work on the first day was a great experience for my personal life too, as I am sometimes rather unorganized. Moreover the visit on a debate in the House of Commons was magnificent. I really thought it is absolutely different political sphere, in comparison with the Czech politics. I always stayed for longer than I was meant to, simply because a vast majority of the speakers were ‘professionals’. I was also given a opportunity to watch the Prime Minister’s Questions, which was stunning. I have never seen such an energetic debate. I was very proud to sit just above David Cameron and literally opposite to Ed Miliband. From what I have seen and what I know about British politics, Miliband did a fair job and his responds were clear and sharp. I also attended a debate at the Work and Pension Committee, where they discussed the integration of young people into working society. On my last office day I went to see a debate in Westminster Hall about Google mapping the streets, which was a great debate and the main speaker had one of the best opening speeches I have ever heard. Moreover I studied in detail the legal procedure how each bill is passed between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. This gave me a clear understanding of the legal procedure between the two houses, which is similar to what is in the Czech Republic.
On the last day I had the opportunity to see the other part of Mr. Heald’s political life. After 4 days in the parliament I took a train to Hitchin where Mr. Heald was invited to visit a community centre which has been re-opened after a brief reconstruction. It was fantastic to see the constituency, as well as seeing what are the responsibilities of an MP.
The working team was extremely friendly and helpful, and they all deserve a big “Thank You”. I have to admit the working experience with Mr. Oliver Heald MP was fantastic and I am very grateful for the chance I was given. Moreover the internship made me think about the huge gaps between the British and Czech politics, and it was very helpful for my future university studies in a field of politics.”