Being an intern at the CIMIC COE?

Looking back at my time at the CCOE: experience and network

By Monica De Astis

If you are considering to apply for an internship in some international organizations in The Hague, do not forget to add the CCOE on your check-list!

For those who do not know it, ‘CCOE’ stands for Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence. It’s one of the 24 NATO accredited centers of excellence, the subject matter expert institution in the field of Civil-Military Cooperation. From its location right between the International City of Peace and Justice, The Hague, and beautiful Delft, the CCOE works as a bridge between military and the civilian world, both within Europe and beyond the borders of the NATO Alliance.

How can academic interns benefit from the CCOE and what can they bring to it? At the end of my 18 month involvement at the Communications & Public Affairs Office of the organization, I have been asked to share perspective with the coming internship candidates, who may be reading this article.

To begin, interns and contractors can be in charge of developing and implementing a diverse range of projects. In my case, I started being responsible for the Website Improvement Project, which was concluded some months ago, when the new version of the CCOE website went online. That was a very valuable achievement: as the CCOE renewed its main external communications platform, I could see my ideas developing into a real product step-by-step, by constantly liaising with my colleagues, the senior management team and externals.

Yet, taking care of a project does rule out other tasks and training opportunities. Indeed, alongside the Webpage Improvement Project, both as an intern, and then as contractor, I worked on: press releases, articles, interviews, the preparation of important meetings and events, major strategic social media campaigns, the creation of multi-media products and general administrative support. Different tasks and a growing responsibility allowing me to improve my skills and becoming an active member of my team.

At work I had the opportunity to attend trainings, meetings and events, ranging from social media strategies to current international issues. These event included social media training for military held at CCOE by an external expert, the annual ‘CMI Community of Interest Conference’, last years’ Change of Command Ceremony and the visits of several NGOs and military delegations. Those were all occasions to learn something new and to network.

Fortunately, I was not the only intern when I started here. On the contrary, I was immediately welcomed by Valeria from the Lessons Learned Branch, who helped me to get familiar within the military, context which was totally new to me. With her and other inters who joined from time to time, I could enjoy the CCOE’s green surrounding area, Delft’s city center and beach life near The Hague. Although this is a Military installation, with all the international military staff wearing uniform, the working and research environment was decidedly civil.

Now it’s time for me to conclude my work experience at the CCOE, a time that contributed to enrich my CV and allowed me to pursue and finish my Masters’ at the same time. The CCOE gave me the opportunity to grow professionally, by merging my previous background in International Relations and Journalism with the International Security, the same field as my Master’s studies.

What I would like to say at the very end of this experience is just a simple but sincere ‘Thank you’ to all the colleagues who supported me throughout it.