It’s only been a week, and already I’ve gotten lost more times than I can count in the State Department HQ. You’d think Sarah Winchester designed that place!
But in all seriousness, despite all the bureaucratic hoops and craziness, interning alongside my classes has been really great so far. Not only do I get to learn about diplomacy and US foreign policy, I get to see it in action! Oh, and I get to wear a suit and pretend that I actually have a job and am making money doing cool international relations stuff:
Besides that, I think what I like best about this entire Global programs opportunity is that I get to do this while meeting all sorts of interesting interns and students from other schools around the US. The shared confusion over bureaucratic paperwork, hallways that make no sense, and a general awesome attitude toward interns (I mean, we’re not just human coffee makers? We have to do real work? What madness is this?!) all gives us a sense of bonding that I definitely didn’t expect. It’s no wonder the State Department made #3 in best governmental jobs to work at!
I also didn’t expect to go to an actual Senate hearing about the Republic of Korea and US civil nuclear energy deals. Yeah… that was pretty freaking cool. Sitting in meetings with interesting people, seeing US policy implementation in action, and even getting to know everyone has been a wonderful experience. But, what’s even cooler is learning about this while also going more in-depth in the actual background of the problem through my classes. I’m taking a course on national security and defense as well as on statecraft and soft power, both of which tie seamlessly into my internship and help me better understand the work I’m doing.
Something else I’ve realized is just how lucky I really am to go to Maxwell. Everyone at the State thinks I had to take time off school to do this internship, especially since Maxwell isn’t located in DC. They’re even more surprised when I tell them that I’m taking actual SU classes in person. Since the internship is a requirement for the MAIR program, Maxwell makes completing it seamless so that you can get everything done without delaying your graduation date. In a sense, by coming to Maxwell, I’ve not only got the benefits of an excellent education with top faculty, but also the chances to intern at DC like someone at GW or American without the full DC price tag!
And, hey, the winters in Syracuse aren’t that bad…