Laurea Correctional Services students Anthony and Nikolai did their internship last spring in The Kosovo Academy for Public Services. This was to be Anthony’s third and final internship period, and the second for Nikolai for their degrees in Correctional Services in Laurea University for Applied Sciences.
By the autumn of 2017 Anthony had worked for the Criminal Sanctions Agency for 4,5 years as a professional prison officer and instructor. Nikolai had extensive experience from the private security sector, as well as experience working in Helsinki Prison. Anthony and Nikolai had both actively taken part in various international government and university exchange programs, and they were both interested in furthering their careers in the international field.
The internship in The Kosovo Academy for Public Services (KAPS) provided Anthony and Nikolai with an opportunity to gain more extensive experience working abroad. The internship would be implemented within the EU-funded Twinning Project at KAPS. The main purpose of the project is to provide further support to public safety education in Kosovo. This is done by developing a sustainable vocational training structure for all public safety agencies. It also supports the development of a Bachelor`s degree program, a possible Master`s degree program, and the development of the research and development department.
The internship officially began 1.3.2018, however Anthony and Nikolai arrived in Kosovo a week earlier in order to arrange practical matters beforehand. Ritva Vähäkoski the Resident Twinning Advisor of the EU-Twinning Project in KAPS would act as Anthony & Nikolais internship mentor. Ritva helped the interns find an apartment, and in all of the practical issues related to living and working in a foreign country.
Anthony and Nikolai were assigned different tasks in accordance with their abilities. Anthony being a native English speaker would mainly handle the proofreading of EU-Twinning Project reports and training documents for KAPS, or on text published on the KAPS website. He was also required to help KAPS staff with any language related issues e.g. presentations, or emails. Nikolai was to function as the main administrative assistant in the EU-Twinning office focusing on the analyzing and compiling of information of EU-Twinning Project documents, and creating new material based on those documents (charts, schedules, booklets, etc.).
During the internship Ritva actively arranged educational trips to different locations and organizations. These included trips to various prisons in the region; Dubrava Prison, High Security Prison, Pristina Prison, and the Lipjan Detention Center for Juveniles. There were also many educational trips to various organizations operating in Kosovo e.g. UNMIK, EULEX, KFOR, The Justice Palace, and the EU-Twinning Project in Pristina. Cultural educational trips included numerous excursions to Mitrovica which was just a short drive north from the academy, a trip to the Adem Jashari memorial in Prekaz, and an excursion to the Rugove mountains in Peja to name but a few. The internship also included many social events that gave the opportunity for Anthony and Nikolai to network and make contacts for professional development in the future.
On a professional capacity the internship period at KAPS was a huge step forward in the careers of Anthony and Nikolai, not only in the Criminal Sanctions Field, but also in operating in an international environment. The experience of working in a post-conflict country, and learning how people have adapted and overcome hardships was eye-opening. Observing and contributing to the Twinning project at KAPS, and working alongside professionals from different fields provided a huge insight into how civlian crisis management/development, and project leadership is implemented in a multicultural environment. Also the contacts that were made during the internship with many different management level officials, from local to international organizations will no doubt be a huge benefit in the future. The study visits to different prisons and organizations gave not only a broad picture of the prison system, but also what is being done in other international organizations.
- We highly recommend any student in Laurea who is contemplating a career in the international field to apply for an international internship, you will not be dissapointed, Anthony and Nikolai say.