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Five-year student of the Faculty of Economics of Stavropol State University, Irina Khudoyarova, was invited to the Audit Department of the Council of Europe for a 3-month internship there in 2008. In total, more than 2500 student applications from 47 European countries were submitted. Irina was among 75 lucky. By the way, this will be her second trip to Strasbourg: in 2007 she also participated in a session of the Council of Europe. The new internship provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the structure of internal and external audits of European countries, to participate in international seminars and conferences on this topic. Leading experts from the Council of Europe also organize internships for interns in real work situations.
These days, Irina Khudoyarova, a student at Stavropol State University (majoring in world economics) is doing an internship at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. She did not accidentally choose the audit department. This relatively young, rapidly growing department of the Council of Europe was established in 2001. It is small compared to others, for example, a huge personnel department. The audit department employs seven people. But, since the Council of Europe covers all countries of the continent, among workers here you can meet representatives of various countries. The curator of Irina is from the UK.
People here are very attentive and friendly, ”says I. Khudoyarova. – To whomever I come up with a question, they are always ready to take time. And I have questions almost every 10 minutes! Since I am testing several programs funded through the Council of Europe, expert advice cannot be avoided. But this is what the internship is for.
It often helps that among the staff of the Council of Europe there are many representatives of Russia. And there are more and more of them. As well as representatives of the countries of Eastern Europe, actively integrating into the pan-European environment.
The audit department, in which our compatriot passes an internship, is engaged in the so-called internal audits: in terms of spending the allocated funds in the right direction. It is noteworthy that the Russians managed to excel here too: now they are considering a program under the Council of Europe, which also includes a certain Moscow school of political studies, suspected of inappropriate spending. True, there is no evidence, and they are unlikely to find it, Irina believes. They say ours know how to cover their tracks.
In general, the European audit is very well organized – this is the preliminary conclusion of the Stavropol student. It is especially interesting to observe “alive”, in detail, the process of active cooperation between the departments of the Council of Europe. The Audit Department, in particular, works a lot with the English Audit Association. Several times the CE audit staff worked with the World Bank.
Of course, a well-established business life in the heart of Europe does not do without all kinds of meetings, then informative, then protocol, or even funny. All together represents a rather colorful picture. So, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who came to the parliamentary assembly, called a full house in the conference room. In his speech, he assessed the elections in Georgia and its current political situation, naturally, in his opinion, positive. Mikheil Saakashvili was also a trainee in the Council of Europe at one time, like the current president of Estonia, and there are many quite famous people in political and economic circles. There is a lot of talk now in Strasbourg regarding the upcoming presidential election in Russia. Europeans are looking forward to a future discussion of the honesty and dishonesty of this campaign. But on the problems of Kosovo a stunningly interesting discussion has already taken place, of which Irina Khudoyarova was also a witness.
The Council of Europe also operates a wide variety of cultural programs, including those aimed at organizing the life of CE workers themselves. Having become a member of this program, you can, for example, travel with CE delegations, attend all kinds of language courses (not available for interns), as well as theaters, cinema. Trainees can go in for sports: they have volleyball and basketball courts, in the summer they have an outdoor pool, etc. Every Friday, they can watch movies for free. But trainees often themselves engage in their own leisure, traveling through cities, museums and exhibition halls.
“I think the internship will bring very useful results both in the educational and in the cultural and educational terms,” says Irina Khudoyarova. – In the meantime, I try to use every day in Strasbourg with maximum efficiency.