Name: Christophe Rolland
Master’s degree in World Politics and International Relations, Università di Pavia
Period of Internship: May 14 – October 30, 2018
I spent six months as an intern at CSD during which I had the chance to take part in various research projects. Although I was initially assigned to work on a couple of projects related to the energy transition, I was also quickly involved in other research activities such as illegal cigarettes trafficking and media capture, which helped me gain a valuable insight of both the quality and the breadth of the work performed by the Economic Program, while allowing me to grow and improve my research abilities and writing skills. I was able to take part in the organization of two international conferences organised by the Centre, as well as international project and consortium meetings.
I was foremost astonished to witness the outstanding quality of both the work performed and the expertise of the staff. Working with the analysts of CSD allowed me to learn every day while benefiting from their knowledge, experience and guidance. Moreover, I would like to stress the benevolence of the staff and thank them for always including us in their work and activities, for their patience and for always leaving room for opinion and conversation. Finally, I am grateful to my fellow interns for the quality of their company and their support, working with them made my stay at CSD most valuable, both professionally and personally.
For these reasons, I recommend every student or recent graduate with a direct or indirect background in Political Science to consider an internship at CSD, that, I am sure, will be as enriching as mine.
International Relations and European Studies, Metropolitan university in Prague
Period of Internship: July 9 – September 28, 2018
I had the pleasure of spending 3 months at CSD this summer. As part of my internship and under the kind supervision of CSD staff, I was able to accumulate valuable personal and academic experience. Therefore, during my work on the Diversity and Mental Disabilities project I was able to upgrade my research and literature review abilities and enhance my writing and analytical skills. Also, taking part in great conversations with fellow international interns, helping with organizational tasks and being part of CSD’s everyday work contributed greatly to my current research focus. Overall, I consider traineeship placements at CSD as a great chance for students to get a good perspective of diverse research work as well as excellent input to develop personal traits for their future career.
Fabrizio Valerio Bongiorno
Master’s Degree in Law, University of Messina (Italy); Diploma in Advanced European Studies, European College of Parma (Italy); Master Programme in Advanced European Studies, University of Parma (Italy)
Period of Internship: February 1 – June 30, 2018
Working for the CSD has been an important, unrivalled experience. Since day one I was assigned to the Law program dealing with human rights, international crimes, practices for migrants and extensive research on trafficking in human beings, and applications for international protection. The CSD gave me a chance to put into practice all the skills learned during my educational experiences, such as time management, decision making, planning, stress management, working effectively with others, always leaving room for dialogue, questions, clarification in a way to improve knowledge and capacities. The CSD is a professional operator, and has made meticulousness, punctuality and experience its trademark.
The CSD’ Staff is exceptional. They are well acquainted with problems that young people coming to a foreign country may have and they make you feel comfortable from the very beginning. They are friendly, kind and always available to help you on specific issues or uncertainties you may have. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. During my career I have been engaged in several traineeships but, without a doubt, the CSD has made this the best experience ever.
Alberto Ben Lago
Bachelor Degree in Law, University of Santiago de Compostela
Period of Internship: April 1 –June 1, 2018
After a few months working on the Law program, I can only say good things about the CSD, but above all about the people who make the engine of this organization work so well every day. These are the professionals who silently improve our society day by day. When they put under the microscope every aspect that they consider dysfunctional they do not do it because there is an economic or political interest behind, but because they all share strong principles that can be felt in the office, principles that they develop through their meticulous and objective work pushing the opinion of Europeans to consider that things may not be so perfect, far from it.
This, for an intern like me, has been an experience of incalculable value, but if we add to this the human quality that they show and how they include you when you arrive, the office becomes a place to grow every day professionally and personally. As my first experience in the world of research I started with doubts, but since day one I was assigned work that I could do independently, self-managing but knowing where to find support and constructive criticism from people whose backgrounds are truly inspiring. In addition, I was very happy with the response to my initiative to participate in other CSD projects’ activities, since I am a person with many professional concerns and curiosity in different areas, and it is rare to find an environment to exploit that potential.
Double Masters in European Integration and European Construction, University of Belgrade and European Academic Center of Nancy; Master in Law, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris
Period of Internship: March 29 – May 25, 2018
My experience working for CSD was a truly wonderful learning experience.
During my two months at the Center for the Study of Democracy, as a part of a longer internship for SELDI, a network of which CSD is the secretariat, I worked for the Economic Program. Among the tasks I was assigned were in-depth research, writing, or preliminary research on topics like Russian influence on the Western Balkans, and undeclared work, both very interesting.
I was also given the opportunity to take part in high-level conferences as well as a training at another NGO’s venue.
The team at CSD is so welcoming, available to answer questions and eager to involve the interns that you feel comfortable since day one. I was lucky to experience first-hand the work of a civil society organisation, especially in the great learning conditions that are laid out for the interns: supervisors, employees and interns altogether participate in the exchange of ideas and a daily forging of opinions.
Without a doubt, I encourage students in the field to spend some time at CSD, if possible, longer than I could. Thank you again for everything!
MA International Relations and Political Science, University of Calabria, Italy; BA International Commercial Relations, National University of Tres de Febrero, Argentina.
Period of Internship: 1 June – 31 August 2017
Being an intern at the Center for the Study of Democracy was a very valuable and gratifying experience. During my three months working for the Sociological Program, I performed a varied number of tasks that allowed me to gain a better understanding on the different topics that the department works on. Some of my tasks were searching for information materials aimimg at orienting asylum seekers and refugees in host societies, searching for labor market orientation practicies for refugees, and searching for methods for measurement of diversity management benefits. Apart from these daily tasks, I had the opportunity to work with a group of remarkable supervisors and colleagues, who were extremely supportive and helpful throughout my whole internship and, most importantly, made me feel welcomed since my very first day. In all, my time at CSD has been an experience that I will always remember and appreciate, and I encourage all prospective interns to apply for an internship position here.
International Studies (BA), University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Period of Internship: 1 June – 1 August 2017
My internship for the Economic Program was a truly incredible experience that allowed me to learn about the most salient projects the department is working on, while giving me practical involvement and skills within a premier research setting. Among the daily tasks I would work on, I created the monthly newsletter that was distributed to partner organizations, I researched information on anti-corruption initiatives in the Western Balkans, and I expanded the Center’s contact network of relevant stakeholders that may be involved in CSD’s work.
During my time at CSD, I was able to meet and work closely with many motivated staff members who gave me the freedom to work independently, but always made themselves available to answer questions and to give me feedback on working assignments. CSD gave me the opportunity to meet many talented interns who come from various cultural and educational backgrounds, making it possible to learn together and exchange ideas and viewpoints on important topics in international relations. I recommend an internship at CSD for its inclusive and international office environment and for the research skills that one is able to obtain from the knowledge set of the Center and the tools it makes available to interns.
Victoria de Simon
Dual Bachelor Degree in Business and Law (IE University, Madrid)
Period of Internship: 4 June – 27 July 2017
Having the chance of working with the CDS has truly been an amazing opportunity. I was an intern in the Law Program and after two months, not only have I been able to expand my knowledge regarding both European and International Law, but also put my previously acquired legal knowledge to test.
As an intern, I collaborated with many future European projects analyzing cases and data, doing legal researches, writing case briefings, among others, focusing mainly on topics which had a huge impact at a European level. By doing so, not only was I able to see first-hand how a group of professionals in this precise field of study work, but I was also invited to attend the different conferences that were held in the Center, which was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
With that being said, if anybody finds the time to do an internship at CDS, luckily longer than mine, I invite you to do so without hesitation. Every day you will get the chance to analyze new issues and forge opinions, and afterwards you will enjoy everything that Sofia has to offer with the rest of the interns, while having an unbelievable experience throughout your entire stay.
BA in Economics from Leipzig University in Germany
Period of Internship: February 2017 – July 2017
My name is Jacob, I was in my last year of my Bachelor of Economic Studies. I interned for the CSD for five months and I spent an advantageous and worthwhile time there. The Economic Program (and from time to time the Law Program) took care of me and gave me interesting tasks concerning attractive topics like:
• undeclared work, where I contributed to a guideline which will serve to combat the different types of undeclared work in the EU
• money laundering and forced return of migrants, for which I did research and
• Russian influence in Germany and Austria.
The CSD published last year in collaboration with similar organizations in five countries a fascinating study on Russian influence in Central and Eastern Europe. Based on this study, I was assigned a mid-term task analysing German and Austrian media covering Russian influence in the respective countries. I enjoyed freedom in doing this, while my superiors were always available for queries and help.
I joined the CSD for five months because I wanted to gain an insight how, inter alia, NGOs work. Furthermore, CSD covers issues which for me are highly interesting. I had already lived in Sofia for six months before starting the internship, but among CSD staff I got a different perspective on Bulgaria and Bulgaria as a part of the EU. The colleagues were willing to answer every question I had and I learnt a lot in addition to the actual work. I thank all the staff for welcoming me there and for the friendly working environment provided!
International Relations and Management (BA), University of Applied Sciences (OTH) Regensburg, Germany
Period of Internship: 1 August 2016 – 31 January 2017
I was very pleased with my six months internship in the Sociological Program at the CSD and definitely encourage other students from all over the world to follow my example and contribute to the work of the Center as an intern. Throughout my stay in Sofia, I was assigned with highly interesting task and topics regarding human rights, migration and refugees, radicalization or integration efforts of refugees in several EU Member States, in which could gain practical be theoretical knowledge for my future professional career. I was able to sharpen my research, as well as academic writing skills in English which both will turn out as a great contribution to my reports and analysis in the near future. I am very pleased with the kindness and openness not only by my colleagues from my Program, but of all CSD employees and other international interns. My internship also provided me with inspiration for my upcoming bachelors thesis and I'm more than thankful for the intensive and informative time.
Undergraduate Degree in Political Science with Honours and a Minor in History, Dalhousie University, Canada; Undergraduate Degree in Political Science, McGill University, Canada
Period of Internship: 25 May – 11 August 2016
I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity for an internship with the CSD. I was a part of the Economic Programme, and aided with a number of projects with regards to my specialisation in anti-corruption. The team here was very supportive and communicated effectively with me in order to give me projects in-line with my research interests, which greatly contributed to my professional development here. I provided updates for data and the SELDI newsletter, as well as conducted research and provided support on topics such as anti-corruption in the education sector, corruption in the energy sector, and the impact of EU conditionality on anti-corruption in Bulgaria. The highly-connected nature of the CSD to other CSOs in the region working in anti-corruption, especially through SELDI, also contributed to my wider knowledge and understanding. The knowledge and experience I gained through my work here has proven to be indispensable, as helping with such relevant and challenging projects gave me a lot of inspiration for my upcoming master’s dissertation.
MA in Human Rights and Multi-Level Governance, University of Padua, MA in Information Security, University of Teramo
Period of Internship: 4 January– 30 June 2016
I had a great time here. I joined the Security Programme and I worked on several projects on organized crime, terrorism, and corruption in Europe. I supported the team in a project on counter extortion racketeering in Europe. I also carried out some research on measuring the corruption and international terrorism. The team has also been useful helping me with my personal research on confiscated assets from organized crime activities. It was a pleasure interning at CSD for six months. I acquired new skills and knowledge about crime issues which my professional career will benefit from. If you are a student or a young professional, this is the right place to test your skills and preparation, you will find good mentors.
MA in International Relations and International Organization, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen; BA in Politics and International Relations, University of Hull, the UK.
Period of Internship: 18 January 2016 – 3 June 2016
It was a pleasure to become an intern here; it was an honour to contribute to the Economic Program. During my internship, I worked on various topics such as Russian economic influence in Bulgaria, energy security in Central and Eastern Europe, human resources and nuclear energy, etc. I can only praise the Centre and its staff. For over four months, I was part of a dynamic and international environment that required nothing, but the very best. I recommend doing an internship at the Centre for the Study of Democracy to all who seek to test and put to practice the knowledge they have acquired during their studies. Nevertheless, I should emphasize that your best allies for successfully completing an internship at the CSD are commitment and discipline.
MA in International Relations and and BA in Law and Political Sciences, University Jean Moulin University Lyon III, France
Period of Internship: 1March – 1 June 2016
During my internship at CSD’s Economic Program I had the opportunity to learn a lot about topics such as energy security and anti-corruption. I was basically responsible for desk research, data updates and summary writing. The internship gave me the chance to meet other international trainees and thus get to know different cultures. We worked in a friendly environment. The experience I gathered in those three months will be a definite asset to my future professional development.
Sonya P. Ninova
MA in Human Rights, University College London; BA in Political Science and International Relations, American University in Bulgaria
Period of Internship: 22 February 2016 – 22 May 2016
In the course of my three-month internship with the CSD’s Law Programme, I had the opportunity to participate in a number of projects concerning human rights issues that are particularly pertinent in the contemporary Bulgarian context. I conducted research on topics such as the reception procedures for migrant children crossing the border irregularly, the link between corruption and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, the right to freedom of speech and how it balances against the need to protect individuals from cyberbullying as well as on the often substandard conditions which prisoners have to endure in the country’s penitentiary institutions. I am very grateful to have been able to work alongside the CSD’s team and I believe the skills I acquired at the Centre will prove useful for my future career development. To anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of the human rights challenges faced by Bulgaria and South East Europe as a whole, I would certainly recommend the CSD’s internship programme as a great place to begin their exploration of this area.
MSc Clinical Criminology, University of Leicester, UK; LLB Law, University of Leicester, UK
Period of Internship: 30 November 2015 – 4 March 2016
I undertook a challenging and very fulfilling three month internship with the Law Program at CSD. My main tasks were researching, making summaries and reviews on contemporary topics which were relevant to my interests. I had the opportunity to assist with research on radicalisation and terrorism, migrant integration, rights of victims of cybercrime and other very fascinating areas. I was also able to attend conferences organised by CSD, or in collaboration with the Center, where other European and international organisations took part. It was a pleasure working with people from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds that were always willing to help and give me guidance. This internship is a very good start for my future career and will be the stepping stone for my further development as a young professional, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested.
MA in Cultural liaisons and Geo-Politics of the European Union from St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University, BA in International Relations from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University
Period of Internship: November 2, 2015 – February 1, 2016
I undertook a 3-month internship at the Sociological Program of CSD. My primary responsibilities were related to conducting research and making reviews on topics such as right wing radicalisation in European countries, migration and refugees in Bulgaria, r egistration system of NGOs in several member states of EU. During the internship, I had a chance to meet people from several countries, engage in a truly intercultural dialogue , sharing new ideas and learn and discuss the various issues. Given my future plans, this internship at CSD was particularly interesting to me and I would greatly appreciate an opportunity to work with real professionals with whom I have been working for the last three months. This will help me defenitely to progress in my personal and career growth. I think this is the best position from where anyone can contribute, learn, and grow as a young professional. Carrying out internship at CSD represents a valauble opportunity for anyone to gain experience and upgrade skills and knowledge. Thus, I highly recommended the internship program at the CSD.
MA in International Cooperation and Development, Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan; BA in Political Science and Global Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Period of Internship: October 2015 – December 2015
I have been honored with the opportunity of carrying out an internship with the Security Program at CSD for the past three months. At the forefront of the reform agenda not only in Bulgaria, but in the entire Eastern European region – and even the whole of Europe, I was able to participate in and contribute to projects that I knew were making a difference in a meaningful and fulfilling way. This internship has granted me the ability not only to gain insight into the workings of a prominent think tank and policy institution, but also supported me in my own research interests and ideas. A few of my favorite projects have been on topics such as Anti-Corruption and the measurement of Anti-Corruption policies, the illicit trafficking of firearms in the Balkans, and more recent undertakings in Radicalisation and Terrorism. I was also given the opportunity to attend and participate in important meetings, roundtables, and conferences with prominent international organisations and actors.
Part of what has made my time at CSD so enjoyable and memorable are the people with whom I have been able to meet and work. I cannot say enough about how wonderful everyone at CSD has been – whether it was a smile to greet me, a word to encourage me, or a direction to help me, I really felt a part of the team.
I have learned so much over the past three months, about myself and about international security. My time at CSD has been an experience I will always remember and appreciate. I would highly recommend an internship with CSD to anyone interested. Thank you all for making this experience so truly incredible!
BA in Cultural Studies and MA in Organizations Management and Administration, the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, MA in East European Studies, the University of Warsaw
Period of Internship: 20 July 2015 – 20 September 2015
I carried out a 2-month summer internship at the Sociological Program of CSD. As an intern I not only provided different kind of assistance, but also gained valuable experience that dovetails in my academic background and personal interests.
It was my first experience of cooperation with a think-tank and it fully met my expectations. Being a part of the Sociological Program I was involved in projects dedicated to Roma capacity building, EU policy on Roma, domestic and gender based violence, as well as migration in the Western Balkans. Among my job responsibilities it is worth mentioning the writing of literature reviews and summaries, editing reports, monitoring and gathering information, searching for potential project partners.
This internship helped to improve my analytical and writing skills, as well as to deepen my knowledge of the Western Balkans. It was interesting to work in a multicultural environment with interns from other countries and to become familiar with the functional peculiarities of working in Bulgarian think-tank. Thank you for this unique possibility.
Linh Tran Huy
Master in International Public Management at Sciences Po Paris, Paris
Period of Internship: 1 June –1 September 2015
I had a great time interning at the Law Program during these three months. The topics I had to deal with were varied and interesting, ranging from counter-terrorism online, to domestic abuse in Europe, to the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users in prison. My tasks included research and sources-gathering, case studies of individual countries and editing a proposal. The work was exactly in line with my abilities and should fit anyone studying or looking to work in the field of international relations. I must also compliment the warm atmosphere of the place, and the great flexibility that was given to us interns. I can only recommend this experience.
Master’s degree in International Humanitarian Law, University of Nice, France
Period of Internship: 1 May 2015 – 31 July 2015
I did a three - month internship at the Sociological Program and it was a very rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to work on subjects such as the monitoring of forced returns of irregular migrants, Roma community issues and domestic and gender based violence. My team was very understanding and always helpful. The work environment was pleasant, very welcoming and supportive, and I had the chance to meet other international interns like me. Thank you so much for giving me the chance to live this unforgettable experience, which will definitely turn out to be useful for my future projects, and to discover this beautiful country.
Bachelor of Arts (International Studies), R.M.I.T University, Melbourne
Period of Internship: 6 April 2015 - 5 June 2015
I interned at the Center for the Study of Democracy with the Security Program for 2 months and found it to be an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience. I completed a variety of tasks relating to corruption and security in both Bulgaria and Europe which proved to be particularly interesting. The tasks were at times challenging although not beyond my abilities and I was able to further develop skills that will prove useful in the future. It is a very welcoming and supportive working environment where I thoroughly enjoyed my time thanks to the wonderful team at CSD.
Master’s Degree in Applied Economics, University of Alicante, Spain
Period of Internship: 2 June 2014 – 8 January 2015
I interned at the Economic Program of CSD during six months in 2014. Within the Economic Program, I was involved in the Southeast Europe Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) network, which includes CSOs from nine countries in South-East Europe. Ruslan Stefanov, both my tutor and Director of the Economic Program, and his colleagues allowed me to be fully integrated in the team. It was a great experience to work both autonomously and within a team. I truly recommend this internship program if you are looking forward to working with leading researchers in the field of anti-corruption, organized crime, Civil Society Organizations in SEE and European integration.
BA in International and Diplomatic Sciences and MA in International Relations, University of Bologna, Italy
Period of Internship: 6 October 2014 – 6 January 2015
My name is Alessandra. I carried out a three month internship at CSD working within the Sociological Program. I accomplished research tasks related to the social inclusion of vulnerable groups, Human Rights protection and migration issues, acquiring a deeper knowledge on these current relevant topics.
Having the opportunity to work in an international environment, assisted by a very professional and helpful team, permitted me to develop my professional and personal skills, becoming a truly learning and rewarding experience.
I want to thank the whole team and highly recommend an internship at CSD.
European Studies, Maastricht university,The Netherlands
Period of Internship: 1 Oct ober 2014 – 30 December 2014
I truly enjoyed the time I spent as an intern at the Sociological Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy. During the internship I was assigned work related to the ASSESS project, which monitors and assesses the effectiveness of the integration measures across 10 EU Member States. The assignments I was given were practical, such as processing and summarizing different data sources, conducting interviews and research on best practices of integration in Bulgaria. The tasks were closely related to my area of interest and gave me excellent opportunity, knowledge and confidence to apply for positions in Brussels.
For me it was great to take part in the staff meeting every Monday, making me feel as part of the team. Each one of the experts working in the program was really helpful and approachable, cutting off the distance between them and the interns. The overall atmosphere in the Centre was dynamic and friendly. I had the chance to meet great people among the other interns coming from all over Europe, and to exchange some useful information for further projects.
I’d like to thank the whole sociological team for this pleasant experience!
LLB Laws (international exchange), University of Essex, England
Period of Internship: 4 November 2014 – 23 December 2014
During my one month internship at the Law Program of CSD, I can firmly say that this was the most rewarding internship I have had. I worked mainly on issues connected to human rights and the position of vulnerable groups in society. For the short period spent at the Center I learned a great amount of new information and skills that would hopefully help me with choosing a path for myself in the future. Everyone at the Center, staff and interns, are incredibly friendly and helpful people that are always willing to help you when you are in need. Overall, the internship was both interesting and challenging and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is interested in this sphere of work.
BA in Educational Science and MA in Human Rights and Conflict Management
Period of Internship: 4 July 2014 – 26 September 2014
My name is Anna Sassu and I come from Italy. It’s been my first work experience in Bulgaria and I really enjoyed my time.
During my time at the CSD I was part of the Sociological program. It was a privilege working as intern in an international and intellectually stimulating setting amongst other interns coming from all over the world and professional with expertise. Through my internship experience I had the opportunity to reflect upon pertinent issues in the field of human rights and to develop a deeper understanding which I will apply towards my future career. I believe that my internship with CSD ideally complemented my education and experiences in the field of human rights and provided me a strong foundation for my profession.
in International Law, Faculty of Law and Social Sciences of Poitiers, France
Period of Internship: 1 June 2014 – 31 August 2014
Making a training course at the Law Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy was an extraordinary experience with regard to the study of human rights law and issues. Furthermore, I discovered a beautiful and surprising country and culture. Meanwhile I was improving my English and Russian level.
BA in Political Science from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Period of Internship: 2 June 2014 – 22 August 2014
My time with CSD greatly improved my knowledge of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region. I enhanced my analytical skills while working on dynamic issues affecting the CEE region - energy security and NATO collective defense. I will always remember my time with CSD and the excellent researchers that I worked with.
MSc in Development Studies, University of Bristol
Period of Internship: 3 February 2014 – 3 May 2014
My 3-month internship at the Sociological program of the Center for the Study of Democracy went by really quickly as I got the opportunity to work in an international environment with interesting and driven people. I chose th e internship at the CSD because I had always been interested in the sociological aspects of democratic transition and governance in Bulgaria. My work essentially consisted of assisting two projects- ASSESS (Assessing Integration Measures for Vulnerable Migrant Groups) and CONFRONT project aimed at countering new forms of Roma children trafficking. I was also able to participate in two workshops: Monitoring the integration of vulnerable migrants and Methodology for participatory research among Roma communities workshop which gave me the opportunity to listen to prominent speakers from all around Europe.
I learnt a great deal of working know-how from the Sociological program team, whom I must thank for being always available and understanding. I also made many great friendships during my internship. On the whole, my internship at the CSD was a very inspiring experience and I feel grateful to have been able to work together with great people in a very friendly and relaxed working environment.
Name: Federica Marini
Political Science and International Studies (BA & MA), University of Cagliari - Italy.
Period of Internship: 3 December 2013 – 3 March 2014
I did a 3-month internship at the CSD within the Sociological Program. All my tasks concerned Migrations and THB related issues. Besides writing summaries and reports of literature reviews, I performed other related desk research assignments. I am glad that I had the chance to interning under the Leonardo Da Vinci Program in Sofia, and get to know the best and the brightest interns I ever met.
Bulgaria and the city of Sofia are nice places to stay.
Name: Christina Hitrova
International and European Law LL.B., University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Period of Internship: 1 December 2013 – 28 February 2014
I had the opportunity to do an internship for 3 months with the Economic Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy, which proved a very enjoyable experience. The friendly interactions with the team and the whole staff of the Center made my work very pleasant and the constant supply of tasks kept me busy and constantly learning. The topics I was involved in ranged from energy security and governance in the energy field in Bulgaria to international competitiveness and legal research. The work was closely related to my abilities and interests, and new challenges came at a steady pace, allowing for my personal development. Socially, coming to the Center every day was very enjoyable, with friendliness both from the people working here as researchers, administrative or supportive staff, as well as from the other interns. Going out in Sofia after work for a beer with the rest of the interns was common and made the learning process even more fun.
All in all, I can wholeheartedly recommend the internship program at the Center for the Study of Democracy for all hard-working, ambitious and outgoing students or graduates.
Name: Paridhi Singh
Education: BA.LLB Integrated course candidate at the Jindal Global Law School
Period of Internship: January - February 2014
Vibrant work atmosphere, opportunity to work with very learned supervisors and reasonable flexibility of working conditions, comprise few of the many good reasons for interning with the Centre for Study of Democracy in Sofia. As an overseas intern from India under the law programme of the Centre for the duration of one month in the beginning of 2014, I learnt a plethora of things. The research I undertook specifically on the issue of rights of vulnerable prisoners allowed me to gain a better understanding of the gravity of this issue and also allowed for me to learn more about the ethos and functioning of European law. I felt no dearth of encouragement and support from my supervisors who gave me timely feedback on my work. The office was also a great place to come to, for it would always be brimming with international interns in different programmes, thereby allowing for a great cultural exchange of thoughts and ideas amongst other things. All of this enabled me to work professionally in an environment very friendly and for that I am indeed grateful to the CSD family for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this experience. Thank you CSD! :)
Name: Theresia Schneider
Education: Political Science (BA), University of Hamburg, Germany
Internship Period: September 2013 – January 2014
I did a 5-month internship at the CSD within the Economic Program. All my tasks concerned anti-corruption policies among the region of Southeastern Europe.
Besides writing summaries of academic papers and corruption indices, I conducted research for different policy briefs and co-worked on a newsletter about corruption. For approximately three months I did my own research project, providing a content analysis about how the region of SEE is depicted in the German-speaking media.
I am really glad that I had the change to realize an own research project and to get to know and apply different methodologies. The people at CSD are friendly and helpful. In addition, Sofia is a great place to stay.
Name: Davide Daidone
Education: University of Palermo, M.A. in Political Science - International Relations and European Studies
Time period of Internship: October, 2013 — January, 2014
My name is Davide Daidone, i come from Italy. It's my first work experience in Bulgaria and i can absolutely say that it was amazing under all points of view. My personal experience at CSD has been very positive. First of all, I met a very good staff and at the same time helpful and polite people. I have done my internship in the Security Program under the supervision of Philip Gounev. Mainly I have done researching about Document Fraud, Illegal Immigration from Third Countries and the role of moneylenders in Romania and Bulgaria and their role within the Casinò. I have done my studies in Political Science and international relationships at the University of Palermo and the first day that I arrived at the CSD I discovered with pleasure that CSD has many projects with my own former university, regarding the confiscated goods to mafia. I have always worked in a great environment and I could use all the means for a proper search. This experience at CSD Bulgaria will be very helpful for my professional and personal growth and in particular, having worked for the Security Program will give me a great chance to win the competition at the Ministry of Interior in Italy. I would like to thank all one by one, from the ladies ofthe kitchen, always kind and helpful, even if they do not speak English, to the Director of CSD. In the end, I would recommend the CSD Bulgaria to all those who are interested to conduct research on Economic, Security, Law or Sociological Program.
For any advice you can send an email to email@example.com
Name: Luisa Römer
Education: International Relations and Management (BA), University of Applied Sciences (OTH) Regensburg, Germany
Internship Period: August – November 2013
During the three months of my internship I was part of the Security Program. My tasks were diversified and very interesting, sometimes challenging but overall they did not overstrain my abilities. Usually they were very specific and geographically focused, but always belonging to topics related to security and crime issues. My supervisors cared a lot and I never felt abandoned with a task.
One of my first tasks focused on corruption in the health care sector in China and consisted of finding academic literature, media reports and current data from the past few years in order to outline the Chinese situation in the health care sector. In this respect, I was not only preparing a list of bibliography references, but I also had to summarize the essential paragraphs and I highlighted the most important facts including statistical data. My focus was on pharmaceutical corruption, medical equipment corruption and bribery like informal payments within the client and doctor relation.
As part of a contribution to the CSD’s National Crime Survey, I collected data about Bulgarian suspects in Germany. I compared the number of total suspects per year with the number of all Non-German suspects and Bulgarian suspects and highlighted the crime areas where Bulgarians were most likely to be engaged in and the specific crimes where Bulgarians have mostly been convicted for. By means of the German Police Crime Statistics I outlined the situation of the past few years and summarized developments. It was very interesting to find out, that the number of Bulgarian suspects more than doubled comparing 2000 with 2013 and that Bulgarians in general were mostly engaged in violation, of drug related offences and street crime like pickpocketing.
Another task focused on undeclared work in Germany and I had to write a report about marginal part-time jobs (Minijobs) and their impact as a policy measure on undeclared work. I summarized the background of the policy measure, explained the objectives, actors and target groups and described the legislative principles of the measure. I analyzed if and how the regulation achieved its objectives and described in detail problems and obstacles for employees, employers, wom е n, foreigners and the state itself. I concluded with some thoughts, ideas and recommendations in a personal commentary and summarized the current situation including numbers of employers, employees, costs and benefits.
Overall I really enjoyed my time as an intern working for the CSD. I used many skills that I have learned in university and had the possibility to improve them, especially in the area of researching, literature sourcing and data collection. I developed an interest in crime and security issues in general and crime prevention and counterterrorism in particular. I would like to consider this interest for my prospective Master degree and later on for regular employment. I enjoyed the friendly, helpful and kind of family-like atmosphere at the CSD and the principle of going out together for lunch. I always felt highly welcomed and that they are honoring the way and outcome of my work. All in all, I take along some very good experiences and benefits for my future life and shall keep some very nice memories.
Name: Benjamin Whiteley
Education: Sociology and Criminology, University of York; MA in Global Criminology, University of Utrecht
Internship Period: May – October 2013
As part of my masters in Global Criminology, I wanted to gain hands on experience with Europe wide projects tackling Organised Crime. After reading through the work the CSD produced and getting in contact, I realised that the aims of their projects were similar to my own academic and career goals and that they would provide an ideal organisation to develop my skills and interests.
During my time at the CSD I gained invaluable insights into working as part of an EU project team, and was able to take a take a proactive role on a number of projects within my field of interest with the support of experienced researchers and analysts.
Name: Payman Shamsian
Education: Bachelor of Science in Materials Science & Engineering , Sharif University of Technology, Iran; Master of Arts in Global Studies, University of Freiburg, Germany
Internship Period: August – November 2013
I worked as an intern in CSD from August 2013 to November in the same year. During my internship in CSD I had the opportunity to be part of the economic program and work on anti-corruption policies in Balkan area. I had to provide a weekly newsletter about corruption in this region. In addition, I was involved in security program and carried out some literature reviews for their project about financing sources of organized crime.
The good thing about CSD which makes it to stand-out among other NGOs is that as an intern I had enough freedom to implement my ideas in the projects. The whole job atmosphere is great and friendly. The hierarchy system in the organization is not so strict and rigid which helps a lot to enjoy the work in a working place.
Name: Viktor Tomov
Education: Bachelor of International Public Management, The Hague University of Applied Science, Netherlands
Internship Period: September 2012 – January 2013
During my internship at CSD I had the opportunity to be a part of the Security Program. As an intern I was involved in the preparation of various projects, drafting of articles and carrying out statistical calculations. Most of my responsibilities fell within the field of crime, and more specifically corruption and anti-corruption practices.
In addition to my daily tasks I studied and read about various challenges faced by Bulgaria’s democratic development. I also assisted to create a methodological tool for assessing and comparing organized crime groupings. The product was meant to help the work of the Department for Combating Organized Crime.
Another project that I was part of was aimed to develop a new methodology for assessing and combating corruption in Bulgaria. My task was to review a number of academic articles, reports and studies on different anti-corruption methods and measures, as well as to identify available tools for assessing their efficiency. I got familiar with the corruption tendencies in different state governance sectors and analyzed a variety of anti-corruption measures.
Throughout my internship I got engaged in a number of projects, which allowed me to see how dynamic and diverse the work at the CSD is. The people I worked with over these five months were very helpful and amenable. In the first days of my internship I received well-explained objectives, which were expected from me. In case I had some difficulties with performing my tasks, I was able to easily contact any of my supervisors. Furthermore, the colleagues I had the chance to work with proved to be very bright and sociable, which made my internship even more pleasant besides being very useful for my future professional development.
Name: Paul Christian Sander
Education: Slavic Studies and Political Science, University of Bamberg, Germany
Internship period: Two months (2011)
Within the framework of my studies, I was very interested in the interdependences of identity politics and the social and economic transformation in the new EU member states on the Balkans.
Since my first semester, I had therefore been driven by the desire to visit Bulgaria: Not only as a tourist, but with the aim to get involved in culture and society to better understand the social and political processes of this region - and to improve my Bulgarian, which I had started to learn a couple of months before. The opportunity to work for the CSD in Sofia
turned out to be a stroke of fortune.
During a period of two months in 2011, I got to know the political landscape of Southeastern Europe, its cultural characteristics and the working fields of a public-policy institute. More concrete, my duties within the CSD Economic program included the work with civil society organizations in Bulgaria and Europe as well as support for business incubators through information and communication sharing. In this context, I was responsible for online research, newsletter preparation, making translations, presentations and correspondence management.
During my stay in the organization, I could contribute to the success of ECAbit, a network of business incubators and technology parks in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA). ECAbit, as a part of the global incubators network of InfoDev, aims to raise awareness on innovation and entrepreneurship development among governments, universities and other key stakeholders. Furthermore, ECAbit aims to strengthen the capabilities of incubator managers as well as their clients through focused training and learning on the one hand, and by addressing new opportunities the globalization provides by initiating
collaborative service and knowledge creation on the other hand.
My time at CSD proved an excellent complement to my studies and a fertile base for future engagement in public policy affairs. I feel I have gained greater sensitivity to the difficulties associated with social and economic policy implementations, especially within the context of South-East European transformation. Beside that, I have learned many skills that are sure to help in any future professional endeavor. One of the most memorable parts of this internship was having the chance to work in a conducive environment with a perfect mix of both autonomy and guidance. Having amiable, approachable and accommodating colleagues and supervisors made my time at the CSD a very enjoyable one.
Name: Charlotte Guériaux,
French, 22 years old
Education: double MA in European Politics; Strasbourg University Institute of Political Sciences
I had a very stimulating and rewarding internship at the CSD Economic Program during summer 2012.
I helped to run a wide range of research on organized crime, human trafficking across Europe and informal economy. Under the supervision of Ruslan and Alexander, I created literature lists on these subjects as a basis for future European programs.
I had an amazing time at CSD where I met wonderful people with whom I am still in contact.
Name: Nelly Krassimirova Kapurdova
Education: Political science, New Bulgarian University
Internship period: July – September 2012 г.
At CSD I helped mainly with research on healthcare corruption. I also sorted and registered books at the CSD library and in the ant-corruption online library Zotero. At the end of my internship I partly updated the statistical information on crime in Bulgaria for the CSD report Penitentiary Policy аnd System in the Republic оf Bulgaria .
My internship at CSD proved very useful for my future study and career in the area of research and countering organised crime. All my co-workers were very friendly.
Name : Nadezhda Kazakova
Education : Tufts University ( Medford, MA)
Internship period : June – August 2012
I did an internship at the Sociological Program whose research specialisation in migration, integration and children matched best my interests. My initial responsibilities included attending bi-weekly staff meetings and performing translations of presentations and policy briefs. As I expressed my desire for more challenging tasks, I was allowed to participate as an equal staff member in the brainstorming and planning sessions for upcoming grant applications. In the course of the summer, my assignments became more complex and required from me consistency, independent thinking and strong work ethics. I ended up spending a lot of time working on ARECHIVIC - a comprehensive project on the re-integration of trafficked children with partners from 5 European countries. This was probably my most rewarding experience at CSD and I still follow its progress. Due to the Sociological Program’s relatively small size, I had the chance to collaborate with all of its members on at least one project and hear their professional opinions on the think-tank sector.
All of my colleagues were very approachable, flexible and helpful whenever I needed clarifications. Overall, my internship at CSD proved to be useful for exploring interesting social issues on which I might focus in my next academic or professional endeavors. It also gave me the confidence to apply to similar institutions abroad. I’m currently volunteering at a human rights NGO in Madrid and look forward to beginning my full-time internship at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin in January 2013. I’m sure that the internship at CSD will help open even bigger doors for me in the future.
Name: Nicolas A. Eslava
Education: BA Political Science, Université de Lausanne and MSc. in Security Studies, University College London
I interned at CSD for a little more than 4 months, in the Organized Crime program, where I focused on smuggling (migrants, petroleum products, tobacco products, alcohol) and on corruption of public officials for the first Bulgarian Serious Organised Crime Threat Assessment and for FRONTEX commissioned studies.
CSD’s focus on Organized Crime matches my personal, academic and professional interests. Working there has not only been interesting, but has also been an occasion to learn some of the skills needed when working with complex and undisclosed subjects, such as Organised Crime. These skills acquired during my internship have proved to be extremely useful during my MSc. and in my current work. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity that has helped me open many doors in both my professional and academic career.
Some words as a non-Bulgarian: Bulgaria is an amazing country, I came there only knowing that the capital city was called Sofia, and left being in love with the Land of Roses its culture and its people. You will love this place!
Name: Svetoslav Dimitrov
Education: BA in International Relations, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria Master’s degree in European Community Policies and Policies of the EU, Loewen Catholic University, Loewen, Belgium
Internship period: Three months (May – July 2011)
CSD Internship Program: Economic Program
Main topics covered: Civil society in Bulgaria, Thin-tanks, Innovation Policies and Law, Wide-band Internet and Communications
The internship was both interesting and challenging. The team and the office environment as a whole were nice and friendly. I would recommend that you offer full-time internship to allow interns better involvement in the work.
Name: Ivan Aymaliev
Education: University College London, London, UK, MA Economics and Business Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, MA International Relations
Internship period: July-August 2009
At the Center for the Study of Democracy, I worked in the fields of conventional and organized crime, anti-corruption, and technology transfer in Bulgaria under the supervision of the Director of the Economic Program Mr. Stefanov.
What is different about CSD is that it is an organization where interns do not have routine administrative responsibilities, but are required to carry out qualitative and quantitative analysis at world-class standards and meet tight deadlines. Researchers at CSD also enabled me to work on my own research project and I received excellent supervision on it.
I believe that an internship at CSD is an intellectually rewarding experience, which equips interns with strong background in anti-corruption policies, and provides them with unmatched advantage to pursue a career in the field of business consulting or research. Currently, I am an Erasmus Mundus Scholar and research intern at Transparency International-R, where I investigate police corruption and public procurement in Russia and other transition countries.
Name: Elena Radeva
Education: BA in Arab Studies from Sofia University "St.Kliment Ohridski"
Internship period: October 2011 – February 2012.
I would describe my internship at the Center for the Study of Democracy as the most beneficial work I have ever experienced. Except for developing a lot of practical skills such as analyzing, processing, and summarizing qualitative and quantitative data, and executing interviews, it expanded my interest scope into a new direction for me – namely, human rights. I assisted in the work stream of the following projects: European Police and Human Rights Project, ARECHIVIC Project (Assisting and reintegrating children victims of trafficking: promotion and evaluation of best practices in source and destination countries) and INTEGRACE Project (Integrating Refugee and Asylum-seeking Children in the Educational System of EU Member States: Evaluation and Promotion of Current Best Practices).
In addition to the valuable skills and knowledge I gained during my stay at CSD, I was given the opportunity to work with remarkable experts in the field, whom today I also consider as friends, and to experience a dynamic, positive, and friendly working environment. Last but not least, my internship at the Center and the support of the team played a crucial role for my enrollment at Columbia University in New York for a Master of Arts Degree. In all, my internship exceeded acquiring professional experience, it made me reappraise my studies and field of interest from a completely different humanitarian point of view.
Name: Filip Lyapov
Education: BA in History from the American University in Bulgaria;
MPhil in Modern British and European History from the University of Oxford
Internship period: Three months
A historian by education, I was interested in gaining valuable experience at some NGOs and institutions that promote democracy and deal with social problems on a local and regional level. During my 3-month tenure at the center I was assisting the sociological program team with their work on the ARECHIVIC and INTEGRACE projects. I was able to get acquainted with details on both projects, read strategy papers and additional information about them which gave me a very good understanding of project planning, management and execution. My immediate work was related to organizing and cataloging data, transcribing interviews, etc. The most important part for me was the knowledge about the projects which both deal with issues which are of specific interest to me - RASC integration, integrating children victims of trafficking and the good practices used in both cases. I am extremely satisfied that I was able to complete this internship and get to know and work with the people there.
Name: Christina Georgieva
Education: A degree in International Relations and Political Science, University of Birmingham
Internship period: October - December 2010
I did my internship at CSD Sociological Program in and was mainly involved in the INTEGRACE project. Then I got hired as a full-time Program Assistant. During the internship period I took part in organizing an INTEGRACE conference, creating organizational tables and in the management of the project. I worked for CSD until August 2011 when I moved on to the Central-European University in Budapest to pursue a master’s degree in Economic Policies. I still keep in touch with CSD and do certain tasks for the Sociological Program.
As a young professional I highly appreciate the experience I gained at CSD. I am glad that my age (21 at the time) was not an obstacle for me to be entrusted with serious responsibilities and respect. I think that my positive impressions are largely due to the interesting projects and the expertise of my colleagues but also to the overall office environment which turned to be stimulating and encouraging. I would highly recommend the CSD internship program to anyone pursuing true practical experience rather than acquaintance with the copy machine.
Name: Mihaela Georgieva
Internship period: November 2010 – January 2011
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Politics and German, University of Nottingham
I was mainly involved with the Economic Program but did some tasks for the Law Program as well as some general assignments.
Major activities: Research and preparatory work on documents for FP7 project proposals and participant CVs.
- Monitoring of Russian and German media publications related to the NABUCCO and South Stream projects and drafting a resume of the main topics and inclinations – all related to the Energy and Good Governance in Bulgaria: Trends and Policy Options report. I also helped organize the presentation of the report in the Parliament.
- Research related to ERAWATCH
- Work on the online catalogue of the CSD library
- Miscellaneous tasks for all CSD programs
I have very positive feelings towards the CSD team. I was well accepted in a friendlu environment and was given various interesting assignments.Everyone in the office was helpful and eager to answer my questions. I learned a lot about European institutions, report drafting and the functioning of think-tank institutions. Thank you!
After the internship I returned to the UK for my master’s degree in Culture and Society at London School of Economics and Political Science.