Text by Rosalinda Whybrow. Photo by Nadim Baker.
Charlotte Eide from Norway is 24 years old. Before going to university, she spent one year serving in the military for the Norwegian Air Force.
“Many stereotypes about the military are correct. It is my experience that women in the military need to prove themselves more than men, because people simply do not expect as much from you if you are a woman. Women are seen as less capable in the face of physically demanding work. However, in the military you don’t objectify each other. You’re a human being and I’m a human being. The military is something unique because you get to know so many different people. I learnt that you can find friends everywhere, and that you find something you like in everyone. And when you get to really know people, most people are amazing.”
After completing her military training, Charlotte enrolled in European Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.
“Even though Norway is not a member, we are very reliant on the EU. I didn’t really know what the EU was, even after 13 years of school. So that’s why I decided to do European Studies. I didn’t know what the EU is, so I thought I should probably find out.”
Currently working and living in Brussels, she is completing her traineeship at the NTNU Brussels Office as a part of her master’s degree in European Studies, which she enrolled in straight after her bachelor’s degree.
“I could have done a gap year, but I thought; why don’t I just finish my master’s and be done with it? Then I can just get ahead with my life. I love to study, I love being a student. But I’m very happy that I did my master’s straight away, because I really enjoy the working life in Brussels. Actually, my boss here always tells me: ‘You know you got your job because you were in the air force, right?’. He’s just kidding, but he says that and it’s kind of funny. That you know you got the job because you drove a forklift.”
Coming to Brussels was Charlotte’s first time going abroad. In two months, she will return back to Norway in order to complete her degree and write up her master’s thesis.
“I’m very happy about coming to Brussels and I kind of don’t want to go back. I love it here, I love Brussels! I can walk out of the door of my office and I have Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland there, and I have Belgium. Then you have the Germans and the Dutch – so I have the whole of Europe on my street! And I really like that. I definitely want to come back.”