‘During an internship, you get to know a lot of people and build up a network’
Xander studies Public Administration and did an internship at the Marine Corps Training Centre. During his internship, he worked on automating the system of logistics requests. Now he is working as a working student for the training centre.
Why did you choose to do an internship at the Marine Corps?
‘After my studies, I want to join the Ministry of Defence. To get to know the military in advance, I wanted to do an internship here. I told my network that I would like to do an internship at the Navy. Someone in my network happened to know someone at the Ministry of Defence. However, this person had little knowledge of the military and no idea that there is a difference between the Navy and the Marines. As a result, I ended up at the Marines and not the Navy.’
What did you do during your internship?
‘The work during my internship was part of a project aimed at the standardisation and automation of logistics applications for military exercises. My task was setting up this automation in a programme. At the end of my internship, there was a product ready to be used for logistics requests.’
What did you like the most during your internship?
‘I liked the people the most. I found the work culture very relaxed. It was very intimate but in a way that, if you are new, you can get in between and then really be part of the team. You can laugh a lot with each other but it's also appropriately serious at the times it needs to be.’
What were challenges during your internship?
‘At first, it took some time to get used to working five days a week and getting up early. I now had to get out of bed much earlier than I was used to during my student life. Fortunately, I got used to it quickly and coffee also helps with getting up early.’
During your work, do you notice anything about the ranks that exist within Defence?
‘Yes and no. I think it varies between the different departments within the military. I did an internship at the staff department of the training centre. When you get to know your colleagues better, the ranks do fall away, and you address everyone by their first names. But in principle, the ranks are there.’
Would you recommend other students to do an internship?
‘Yes, I would definitely recommend internships to other students. Especially if you have some idea of what you want to do. Internships allow you to gain practical experience and learn how to work with certain programmes, for example. During an internship, you also get to know a lot of people and build up a network, which can always be useful in the future.’
In the end, you stayed with the training centre as a working student. How did that come about?
‘I enjoyed my internship and that's why I wanted to starting working as a student at the training centre. My internship helped me with the work-study application process. I now work for the same commander I worked for during my internship, only the work is slightly different. Now I am not doing automation, but I am writing policies and I support the commander in organising new events.
Because I am now also working here, I can see how the product I made during my internship is being used. That is very nice to see. One difference with the internship is that now I have received training and wear a uniform. During my internship, I wore civilian clothes.’
Text: Annemieke van Es