Nora's Internship Experience

Meet Nora Romanova. In the summer of 2022, Nora, a recent graduate from Riga Stradiņš University, obtained her master's degree in International Relations. Seeking to continue her studies, she is currently pursuing her second master's degree at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Communication Studies.

“Nearly a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, Europe remains a continent at war. As someone from a region with a complex history and of current important geopolitical importance, this reality hits particularly close to home for me. Before my work at the CCOE, I worked at the Ministry of Defence of Latvia, where I gained a first-hand understanding of the importance of maintaining a strong defense capability and the role it plays in preserving national sovereignty and security. My academic interests closely align with my previous work experience, as I am passionate about exploring ways to enhance societal resilience against foreign influence operations that pose significant threats to national security, democracy, and global stability.”

One area of particular interest to Nora is civil-military cooperation, a crucial aspect of maintaining security and stability in the face of complex security challenges. “As a civilian in a military environment, I recognize the vital importance of building and maintaining positive relationships between military forces and civilian actors to promote effective cooperation, especially during times of crisis. In today's multi-dimensional security landscape, effective civil-military cooperation is vital. That's why I made a strategic decision to pursue an internship at the CCOE after graduating with my master’s degree in international relations. I am excited about the prospect of this internship as it will allow me to deepen my understanding of civil-military cooperation by collaborating with experienced colleagues in the CIMIC discipline.”

At the CCOE, Nora works in the Training & Education (T&E) Branch, which is responsible for offering a wide range of courses on CIMIC to the military and civilian audience. “I am currently supporting the CCOE in their capacity as the European Union's Discipline Leader for CIMIC. My responsibilities include assisting with the development of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Military Training Requirements Analysis (TRA), which is a crucial process aimed at identifying areas where CIMIC training can be enhanced to address the specific needs of a CSDP military training discipline. This is particularly important as the CCOE is the NATO-accredited institution that recognizes the importance of the EU’s evolving role in international security affairs. By working together, the two organizations can combine their complementary strengths to address common security challenges and promote stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond.”

Working at the CCOE has been an immensely insightful experience for Nora, largely due to the organization's unique and multicultural environment. “The CCOE brings together military personnel from different countries and with varying levels of experience, creating a diverse and dynamic workplace that offers a lot of learning opportunities. I had the opportunity to join a CIMIC Fieldworkers course as a participant. The course provided me not only with insights into military operations and the role of CIMIC but was also an opportunity to enhance my negotiation skills. Participating in civil-military role-play was a fascinating experience that helped develop my critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Interning at the CCOE has offered me an opportunity to work on important and challenging issues and to learn from experts from a range of different backgrounds. Civil-military cooperation has always been an area of interest for me, particularly in the context of humanitarian work. The idea of combining the resources and expertise of civilian and military organizations to deliver assistance to people affected by conflict or natural disasters is both challenging and inspiring. This is something that I want to explore further.”

Nora's internship at the CCOE is a crucial steppingstone towards achieving her career aspirations. “Through this opportunity, I am acquiring new knowledge and developing valuable professional networks, which will equip me to pursue diverse career prospects in civil-military cooperation, humanitarian aid, and international development in the future. Ultimately, my goal is to make meaningful contributions and foster positive relationships between military and civilian actors and promoting effective cooperation in the face of complex security challenges.”

Finally Nora has some advice for future interns:

  • Besides completing daily tasks, seek out opportunities to learn from colleagues in other branches. Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek guidance from experienced personnel in the CCOE. They can offer valuable insights and advice that can help you improve your skills and knowledge.
  • Don't be afraid to share your own ideas and insights with your colleagues. Your unique perspective can offer a fresh take on existing projects and processes!
  • Make the most of your internship. Explore the beautiful city of Delft, or Den Haag, and take advantage of all that it has to offer. The Hague is home to several international institutions that you can visit. Attend conferences and events, go for a bike ride to the beach, and enjoy the local culture. Engaging in these experiences is part of your time at the CCOE!