Constance Dijkstra

Dates of internship:  February - July 2013
Nationality: French/Dutch

The central aim of my internship was to discover the daily routine of an international organisation and discern the impact that diplomats have on global decisions. Additionally, I wanted to familiarize myself with issues related to international affairs and global security and acquire comprehensive knowledge on issues related to arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

I was an intern in the Government Relations and Political Affairs Branch. I helped to update backgrounders for country files (current political situation, recent news related to disarmament, CVs, etc). I assisted the branch in the writing of statements presenting the achievements of the OPCW and the challenges that lay ahead. I was assigned to do research on meetings and published papers related to disarmament/WMD’s. During the Third Review Conference, I assisted with registration and liaison with delegations. 

I was lucky to be at the OPCW during the Third Review Conference. It allowed me to work for other branches and observe the diplomatic negotiations, and I had the opportunity to witness discussions on the status of Syria for the political declaration. Furthermore, after three months in the organisation, I got the chance to write my first statement which felt like a privilege.

This internship helped me to see my career goals from a different perspective. Before coming to the OPCW, I did not have professional experience in the context of international relations and only learned international politics through books and journal articles. As a student of political science, I always wished to work for an international organisation and being an intern at the OPCW really did allow me to see if this working environment would fit me. 

Living in The Hague was absolutely amazing. It is a relaxing and beautiful place close to the sea with a nice centre where you can find anything you need. Distances in the Netherlands are not that long, so during the weekends I would explore the Netherlands and go to Utrecht, Haarlem, and Amsterdam.

My advice for incoming interns: do this internship if you are really interested in global security matters, disarmament and non-proliferation. The OPCW tends to touch upon themes which are relatively technical, so if you are not interested in those subjects, you may not enjoy your time here.

After the internship, I will start my masters degree in Conflict Studies and hope to do further internships in organisations related to security.

Constance Dijkstra
Dates of internship: February - July 2013
Dennis Ikas
Dates of internship: June - July 2013
Anastasia Nikitinskaya
Dates of internship: February - August 2013
Nino Gabisonia
Dates of Internship: February - March 2012