“I have always been interested in human behavior. That’s why I decided to study psychology. There are so many stimuli in our environment that influence human behavior, without even noticing. Most of us are driven by these automatic and spontaneous reactions. That is super interesting and it happens all the time!”


Patrícia Gonçalves is originally Portuguese and was born and raised in Amsterdam. At the age of 21 she started to engage with the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), which is one of the biggest student organisations in Europe. Today she supervises a team of 60 volunteers and serves as chairwoman on the international level of the association.


“What makes me passionate about this organisation is that it uncovers the power that young minds can have in shaping society: We write position papers, carry out surveys and publish articles about topics that concern international students. We also meet regularly with representatives from the European Commission’s DG EAC* to talk about the future of the Erasmus program. Actually, this is how I became interested in European institutions. I thought: Hey, maybe instead of a private sector organisation, let’s try a public one and see how decision-making processes are done here!”


As a Schuman Trainee at the European Parliament, Patrícia currently works in the Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS).


“When I look back at my time in the EP, I want to see that I developed myself. I hope to have made many new friends from all over the world. And I really want to have an impact, even if it’s just a small one. Maybe my current colleagues will say at some point: ‘Hey, there was a trainee three or four years ago that did this report, maybe you should look it up!’ or even: ‘Hey, that’s a sound report, maybe we should do something with it.’ That would be nice.”


* Directorate-General for Education and Culture

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