Chris Verklan

Intern NATO Field School 2018

I attended the 2018 NATO Field School in the final years of my undergraduate degree – travelling to Canada’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia, the NATO Defense College in Rome, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium, among other places. My experience on these excursions was incredible, and I gained many valuable insights on the functioning of NATO and the challenges it faces from soldiers and diplomats alike. In addition to the knowledge, I gained through this experience, the Field School provided me with a valuable opportunity to network with like-minded peers – many of whom I keep in touch with today.

The NATO Field School has added a new element to the field school experience, that being an internship opportunity at the NATO Defense College for members of its alumnus network. After being selected for this opportunity, I began my work alongside a senior military official that was tasked with developing a realistic, hypothetical hybrid threat scenario for the College’s Senior Course. As part of this project, I worked to incorporate emerging security trends and threats into the scenario and corresponded with leadership and other interns to identify and address issues arising from various drafts of the scenario.

I have since stayed on for another term at the NATO Defense College to help refine the scenario and further develop my professional skillset before returning to my graduate studies at the University of Calgary’s Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies. Overall, this experience, in addition to the NATO Field School itself, has enabled me to develop the professional skills and experience needed to succeed in the field of defence and security. As a result, I strongly recommend that anyone looking to do the same considers attending the NATO Field School.