Mineola bids farewell to village interns from Portugal

Mineola bids farewell to village interns from Portugal
Inês Da Silva, left, and José Pinto Correia, right. (Photo courtesy of the Village of Mineola)

The Village of Mineola Wednesday night bid farewell to two interns who have been with the village for the last three months getting a behind-the-scenes look at how local municipalities function. 

José Pinto Correia and Inês Da Silva, two graduates from the Catholic University of Portugal in Lisbon, were scheduled to leave Long Island to go back home to Portugal on Dec. 18.

“The two have been getting to know the in’s and out’s of village government with our department heads as well as our village clerk,” Mayor Paul Pereira, who is Portuguese, said during the Board of Trustees meeting. 

Pereira told Blank Slate Media the opportunity arose when he was on vacation in Portugal earlier this year and connected with the two through a friend. The mayor went on to say the students have degrees in both political science and international relations and are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in a government-related field. Neither had any prior exposure to the workings of government.

Correia had studied in the United States before the internship, spending his senior year and graduating from high school in Kansas.

The internship, which was unpaid, included attending staff and department meetings alongside Pereira, assisting the village court and helping with the operation of Mineola and its events like the holiday tree lighting earlier this month.

“These three months have been amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to see the inside of how this village really works,” Correira said to the board Wednesday. 

Correia added that he was able to see how ideas for the village that may have started months or years ago come to fruition.

“It shows how much improvements can be made by simply getting an idea, putting it in the town’s heads and getting it through everything. It’s amazing,” Correira said. “You’ve done nothing but treat me right, I really cherished my time here.”

Da Silva thanked the board for the opportunity and said how impressed she was to see what goes into running the village.

“It’s really good to see how amazing it works sometimes,” Da Silva said. 

This was the second time this year the village welcomed guests from Portugal, including representatives from Estarreja–the city where Pereira was born–and its volunteer fire department, whose members visited this fall during a weeklong exchange program with the Mineola Volunteer Fire Department. The Portuguese delegation included Estarreja’s mayor, New York-born Diamantino Sabina, and officials of the Estarreja Volunteer Firefighters. 

The next Mineola Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 20.

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