Three questions with Horacio Pezzelatto about his CIVICA summer internship experience

The MPP student took part in a 2022 digital policy internship for first-generation students at Google.

In the summer of 2022, nine students from universities across the CIVICA alliance took part in the Policy Summer Institute (PSI), a new joint programme between the university network and Google. For the paid internships, first-generation CIVICA students focused on digital policy and were based in European capital cities where such policies are generally made.

Horacio Pezzelatto, a current second-year Master of Public Policy student from Argentina, worked in Madrid over the summer. Pezzelatto, who is also a mentee in the Hertie School’s 2021/2022 First-Generation Mentoring Programme, shared his summer internship experience with us.


How did the first-generation mentorship help you in your studies and career development, and how did your summer internship with CIVICA and Google come together?

The mentoring sessions with Prof. Mark Hallerberg gave me a new perspective of the challenges of studying abroad and in the end increased my self-confidence and motivation to take advantage of all the great opportunities that the Hertie School provides us with. The first-generation mentoring initiative showed me that we might not all be at the same starting point, but if you put in a lot of effort, you can succeed. 

In fact, the selection process for the internship was a great lesson on how we sometimes have to believe more in ourselves. I applied on the last day because I thought that there were no chances of being selected, considering that any student at a CIVICA member university can apply. However, I was selected, and I learnt that we can always be the one in a million!


How did you benefit from connecting with your peers across the CIVICA alliance during the internship?

In a European context, where policies may go beyond borders or need to be coordinated regionally, the opportunity to connect to peers in different countries is a real asset. The internship was an intercultural experience that definitely added up and helped me to expand my horizons.  The fact that we were located in different countries and had different backgrounds made me realise how important it is to build bridges and how much we can learn from our differences. I believe that this was a key factor in helping me to better understand the challenges of European Union regulation and its implementation within the member states.


How did the Hertie School’s first-generation mentoring initiative help you during your MPP studies?

The programme allowed me to understand the magnitude of designing and implementing public policies. Since I have a strong background in the public sector, it was interesting to bring that previous knowledge into a private sector context. I was able to work with real-world topics regarding digitalisation and artificial intelligence in Europe and I could gain first-hand experience on the pressing challenges of the multilevel governance of Europe. The internship with Google and CIVICA was an incredible experience where I could implement all the tools that I acquired during my first year at the Hertie School in a real work scenario in Europe.