Policy analyst at the Canadian Department of National Defence / Senior researcher in national security and public safety at the Conference Board of Canada.
Internships are often the bridges that students cross from academic life into the promised land of full-time employment. My time at the Roosevelt Study Center also helped me cross a bridge of a different nature, for I emigrated to Canada shortly after bidding farewell to Middelburg in 2005. With degrees in English Literature and American Studies and some think tank experience to boot, I was eager to start my life as a graduate student in Montreal and explore an interest in political history that I had cultivated during my time as an intern.
Fresh off the proverbial boat in Canada, I spent an amazing year at McGill University and had several small jobs, varying from volunteering for an NGO to selling running shoes and working at a former prison turned youth hostel. But as frightening as finding my feet on this side of the Pond was, I can now discern a pattern in my career that started in Middelburg. My experience with the Roosevelt Study Center enabled my research supervisor in Montreal to recommend me to a Swiss think tankin Zurich, where, for one sun-drenched summer I combined work on international security issues with hiking the nearby Alps. And it was my internship experience that subsequently helped me land a job as a policy analyst with the Canadian Department of National Defence here in Ottawa. In this often crazy-paced environment, I worked on a wide variety of interesting files, ranging from military procurement to arms control policy, and prepared military officers and senior executives for appearances before parliamentary committees.
After four years in government and having traveled across this humongous country, I recently decided to return to my think tank roots by accepting a position as a senior researcher in national security with the Conference Board of Canada. To use a cliché, many aspects of my previous experiences have come full circle and I am grateful for conducting research in a field that I love and living in a country that I have come to call home. And yet, immigrants never fully adapt to their new surroundings and there will always be things from Zeeland that I miss. Stroopwafels. Café de Mug. The Domburg beach. And more importantly, the friendly and stimulating environment of the Roosevelt Study Center.
Until we meet again!