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Koen van der West (Master NOHA) at the Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence in Den Haag, Netherlands

How did you look for an placement? What was your ‘search method’?
Within the Master International Humanitarian Action an internship is a mandatory part. Throughout my studies I have become very interested in the interaction between military and humanitarian actors, and therefore I decided to get an internship within the specific field of civil-military interaction. During my studies I got in contact with several civil-military professionals, who gave me advice on possible internship placements. Two of their recommendations were the 1. CMI Command in Apeldoorn and the Civil-Military Cooperation Centre Of Excellence (CCOE) in The Hague. Although there were no official internship vacancies for both places I decided to give it a go. For the 1. CMI Command I made use of my network for applying, whilst I did an open internship application for the CCOE. To my surprise I got accepted to both organizations, after which I decided to join the CCOE from the 16th of July till the 16th of October 2015.

What did you learn from the placement? For what reason do you think students should undertake an placement?
First and foremost my internship at the CCOE gave me the experience of working within a multi-cultural professional (military) organization. More specifically I learned how to work within a team on a specific project. Furthermore I gained a lot of knowledge with regards to civil-military interaction and doing research, and I learned how to work under time pressure. Although my internship was mandatory I would like to highly recommend students to do an internship, since it gives you real working experience and (hopefully) gives you more insight into your further career.

Stage Koen van der West bij CCOE in Den Haag

What did you like best?
What I liked most within my internship is that I worked with people with a different background, which gave me other perspectives on certain issues. Furthermore I really liked that I was given real responsibilities, which gave me an idea that I was really part of the team within the CCOE. Lastly I really liked that I could put my academic research skills into practical use.

What would you do differently the next time you would do an placement?
The only thing I would do differently the next time is that I would planning-wise not intent to work at the same time on my Master's thesis and on the internship, since this is not manageable when you work full-time for an organization.

What would you advise other students for their placement?
Do not only apply for internship vacancies, but also send open applications to organizations of your interest. Make use of your personal network when searching and applying for internships. Do not intent to work on your thesis and internship at the same time.

Laatst gewijzigd:06 juli 2017 08:33
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