My name is Marte and over the past nine months I have been lucky enough to be an intern with the Operational Analysis (OA) Service Line. As my final day approaches I can say my experience of an internship at the NCI Agency has been the complete opposite of the stereotype of simply 'making photocopies'. Rather, my tasks have been varied, highly interesting, challenging and extremely relevant for my future career ambitions.
In my role, I was introduced to the world of defence planning. I also assisted with developing an overview of stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, used new analytical tools to update a report on migration and attended a workshop on the 'Protection of Civilians' hosted by Allied Command Transformation, among many other things.
A particular highlight has been working on a project that provides Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) with an independent assessment of developments concerning governance, regional relations and sustainability in Afghanistan, and their relevance to the NATO Resolute Support Mission there. I also participated in workshops at SHAPE where I had the unique opportunity to engage with leading subject-matter experts, many of whose work I had studied during my degree.
The practical experience I have gained will not merely be summed up in a few bullet-points on my CV. It has increased my knowledge of current NATO missions and the process of assessing operations, as well as helped me improve and develop new professional skills. In addition, my understanding of OA, the NCI Agency and its role within NATO, as well as the organizational structure and internal procedures of the Alliance rapidly developed from the basic theoretical to the advanced practical in a matter of weeks!
In today's competitive job market – in which my university career advisors told me that doing two years of internships was becoming the new norm – my time here at the Agency helped kick-start my career. Not only have I developed skills and knowledge of interest to employers, but I have also been fortunate enough to be offered a position at the NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre in the United Kingdom. This would not have happened without this internship!
And I should also point out that my internship has not been all work. I felt welcome from day one, and I appreciate that I have been included in a range of social activities, such as making our way out of Escape Rooms, meeting out in The Hague, and playing volleyball on the beach.
To everyone in the OA Service Line and all other staff I have met at the NCI Agency, thank you for making this a great experience and preparing me for a career in the field of international security.