Paul Christian Sander
Slavic Studies and Political Science, University of Bamberg, Germany
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.