The last five weeks have flown by, and now I’m just over halfway done with my internship at IDEA! Taking a moment to reflect, I can’t help but notice how much more comfortable and confident I have become living in Den Haag. In just a few weeks, I went from not knowing how to get to the train station and being apprehensive of cyclists to being able to give detailed directions and navigate traffic with ease. I quickly found favorite restaurants for lunch and even learned to recognize some key Dutch words and phrases.

Not too much happened last week, as completing my research on Kosovo took up most of my time. However, I did get to do a few new things. On Tuesday, Madeleine and I accompanied our boss to the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), where he presented a brief talk about what projects International IDEA is working on and answered questions about current constitutional issues with a particular eye toward the rule of law (the area of focus for IDLO’s Hague office). Also on Tuesday, I attended the first annual conference hosted by the Knowledge Network on Climate Assemblies (KNOCA), a network of European experts and policymakers focused on promoting successful Climate Assemblies (assemblies of 100 randomly selected citizens, reflecting the demographics of a particular country, who are tasked with delivering recommendations on government climate policy with the aid of experts). Although their track record is mixed, Climate Assemblies have become rather popular in recent years, and KNOCA seeks to connect experts across the world to provide advice and feedback on the design and functioning of effective Climate Assemblies. It was great to see people from around the world with a commitment to addressing climate change through citizen empowerment and democratic innovation, and I hope KNOCA’s efforts result in increased public engagement and education on climate issues and help to push global politicians to climate action.

Of course, no week would be complete without an excursion to another city in the Netherlands, and last week was no exception. On the last Saturday in June, my buddy Rob and I went to Utrecht for the day, and it was quite the trip! After walking around the city and taking in the beauty of its canals, we spent a few hours at the Dutch Railway Museum before stopping at a local festival featuring lots of food vendors and live music. We wrapped up the day with dinner at an amazing Central Asian restaurant. We both agreed that, unlike Delft or Gouda, Utrecht was far too big for us to even get a good lay of the land after just one day, and there is a strong chance we’ll be back before the summer ends.