https://careers.state.gov

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Embassy Seoul Economic Team Intern

July - August 2017 • Seoul, South Korea

What I liked

The team of people I worked with bonded together like a family, so it was a great working environment. I also got to attend weekly meetings with the Ambassador and write proposals and background of events for him, so that was a great experience. In addition, I was able to attend events with visiting Congressional Delegations and top Korean conglomerate executives to take notes of their discussions.

What I wish was different

I wish the background check would not have taken so long, so that I could have started my internship earlier.

Advice

Come to the internship with ideas of what you might want to research about you host country, and come with a set of goals that your would like to accomplish during your time there. If you ask for more responsibility, then your advisor will often give you more tasks to do.
3 people found this helpful

Summer Intern

June - August 2017 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Integration into the model of diplomacy & the opportunity to live in Washington D.C. for the summer

What I wish was different

Substance of work & Pay

Advice

I would tell a future intern to make sure and connect with other interns right away. It makes the experience that much better if you can find connections and listen to what other people are doing/working on as well.
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Political/Economic Analyst

September 2017 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I liked being in the DC area and being able to see how the bureaucracy within the Department of State works.

What I wish was different

I wish my office had more work for me to do and was better prepared to handle an intern.

Advice

Show up everyday with a good attitude and willingness to work no matter what.
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Intern

May - August 2017 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I was given tasks that were challenging and meaningful. I was made to feel like part of the office team.

What I wish was different

I wish I had gone into the internship with more knowledge about trade policy because I was working in the Office of Bilateral Trade Affairs.

Advice

Be proactive and seek out the work because that is what is expected of you.
9 people found this helpful

Economic Analyst

June - August 2017 • London, England

What I liked

I loved the flexibility of the internship. Every decision is left up to the intern, however much they want to work, and who to work with. I had the opportunity to work closely with analysts on Brexit, financial sanctions, and STEM.

What I wish was different

I wish housing had been covered. If I did not receive a stipend and was not proactive in looking for affordable housing in London, I wouldn't have been able to do the program.

Advice

If you want to work in an embassy, you must be proactive. You must reach out to each analyst, discover their portfolio, and be confident enough in your work to put yourself out there and take on challenges.
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Student Programs Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I liked that I could navigate around the Department of State freely and go on many coffee dates with people in different bureaus. I got a great sense for what working in the government is like, and what each bureau within the department does.

What I wish was different

It's a lot of inside, computer time. Personally, I like to be outside more, but that's not part of the job!

Advice

It's important to be proactive. I met so many great people and had valuable experiences because I went after them! Things are not simply handed to you.
1 person found this helpful

Public Affairs Intern

June - August 2018 • Shenyang, Liaoning

What I liked

Every day on the job was different. I was kept on my toes and constantly challenged. The main focus of public affairs was to inform the public on American culture and make ourselves accessible to them. Overall, it was a fantastic experience because I felt like I was actually valued there and I got to learn so much about diplomacy and Chinese culture.

What I wish was different

I honestly just wish I could have been there longer. There were a few projects that I didn't get to see to completion because I had to go back to school.

Advice

Take advantage of every opportunity to do something with the other diplomats and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to try new things.
1 person found this helpful

Intern

June - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I was treated as a full time staff member of my team and therefore had lots of responsibility.

What I wish was different

I wish that I had known more about what my role would entail before applying to the job and even before my first day.

Advice

Everyone's experiences as interns at the State Department are very different so I would recommend talking to more than one person who has interned at State before applying!
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Refugee Affairs Intern

June - August 2018 • Kampala, Uganda

What I liked

I learned a great deal about refugee issues in Uganda and how the U.S. Department of State partners with local government, the UN, and NGOs to assist and resettle refugees. I found my experience doing monitoring and evaluation in the field to be the most interesting.

What I wish was different

Advice

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U.S. Department of State Student Intern

June - August 2018 • Zagreb, Zagreb County

What I liked

I loved absolutely everything. The culture of the U.S. Embassy and work was rewarding and inclusive. As an intern, I was able to work on important projects and help facilitate both bilateral and multilateral relations.

What I wish was different

Nothing it was incredible.

Advice

Enthusiasm and a willingness to perform any task large or small goes a long way.
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Foreign Service Institute EAP Intern

May - July 2018 • Arlington, VA

What I liked

Friendly supervisors and coworkers. Relaxed, but motivated atmosphere. Applicable to my field. Learned about Foreign Service and interacted with Foreign Service Officers. Made many connections and friends.

What I wish was different

I wish working environment was a bit faster paced. I also would have liked more opportunities to teach FSOs Chinese.

Advice

Because the atmosphere is not very stressful or fast-paced, you need to seek out different working opportunities yourself. It is not handed to you, so this position is only for those willing to actively take initiative.
1 person found this helpful

Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I enjoyed working in an environment where everyone was just as passionate about foreign policy and serving American interests as I was. People were smart and dependable, it was a good culture. I also was able to get a lot of hands on experience going to think tank events, going to meetings with significant policy decision-makers, and writing briefs/memos/papers for the Secretary. I was busy most days, but I also had intern friends who didn't have much to do. Depends a bit on the office and if you're willing to ask people for work.

What I wish was different

I enjoyed my internship for the most part. The biggest thing I wish I could change was how busy and uncoordinated making policy is. The DoD, DoS, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, NSC, the White House, etc were all involved so sometimes it was hard to coordinate things or you'd complete a significant assignment and be unsure how it impacted policy in the long run. At the same time, right now is a difficult time for State. The DoD and the white house have gradually taken more control of foreign policy, and State isn't hiring.

Advice

Working at State is great and it's a fun experience, but like other internships it can be what you make of it. If you ask for work and complete the assignments on time you'll be given more responsibilities.
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Research Intern

June - September 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I really enjoyed the in-depth government experience and the interesting projects I was trusted to work on.

What I wish was different

I would not have changed a thing- the most interesting and stimulating summer!

Advice

Be ready to work hard. This internship was demanding but the learning experience made it all worth it.
3 people found this helpful

Outreach/EXEC Intern

May - August 2018 • Shanghai, China

What I liked

I loved the opportunity to work alongside the Provincial Relations/Outreach section, who supported me in challenging myself while I represented the Consulate at events across the provinces surrounding Shanghai. I was the sole representative at the "Launch Ceremony of 2018 Huzhou Global High-Level Talents Competition", the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing Center Commencement, in which I drafted the commencement speech Consul General Sean Stein read, and I was a speaker at the City of Hangzhou's International Poetry Festival of the Grand Canal.

What I wish was different

I wouldn't change a thing about my experience in Shanghai. I feel as though I made the most of my ability to travel throughout China as I spent a weekend in Beijing and I extended work trips to do more traveling in the provinces. My internship opened my eyes to the complex and layered relationship the U.S. shares with China and it has inspired me to pursue a career in diplomacy.

Advice

Many people ask me "how was China?" because China is not only a foreign country but to many Americans, it is a foreign idea. Through my experience interning in Shanghai, I had a first-hand perspective of the drastic change China and Shanghai in particular, has endured in such a short time. If we want to strengthen our relationship with China on a governmental level we must start by trying to better understand their culture as citizens. I have a newfound infatuation with Chinese culture and I would encourage all Americans, to open their minds to learning more about China and its rich and evolving history.
2 people found this helpful

Human Rights Council Intern

September 2018 • Geneva, Switzerland

What I liked

I love this internship because I am an integral part of the team and am constantly broadening my understanding of public diplomacy and foreign relations.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Office of Chemical and Biological Weapons Affairs Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I helped to prepare and report on bilateral consultations regarding North Korean chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation. Through media monitoring and talks with allies, I worked to counter Russian and Syrian Regime chemical weapons use and disinformation. I assisted with lobbying efforts and coordinated collaboration with states party to the Chemical Weapons Convention to successfully pass an attribution mechanism for chemical weapons use in Syria through the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

What I wish was different

Advice

Always go out of your way to engage with and speak to coworkers! Never be afraid to jump into a situation you are unfamiliar with, so long as you ask questions and trust your team.
4 people found this helpful

Office of Chemical and Biological Weapons Affairs Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I helped to prepare and report on bilateral consultations regarding North Korean chemical and biological weapons nonproliferation. Through media monitoring and talks with allies, I worked to counter Russian and Syrian Regime chemical weapons use and disinformation. I assisted with lobbying efforts and coordinated collaboration with states party to the Chemical Weapons Convention to successfully pass an attribution mechanism for chemical weapons use in Syria through the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

What I wish was different

Advice

Always go out of your way to engage with and speak to coworkers! Never be afraid to jump into a situation you are unfamiliar with, so long as you ask questions and trust your team.
10 people found this helpful

Front Office Intern

May - August 2018 • Paris, France

What I liked

I loved being in Paris and the people I was working with were also very cool. It was also really interesting to work face to face with the Ambassador.

What I wish was different

I wish it was a paid experience.

Advice

Start the security clearance ASAP if you have traveled a lot recently. Be open to changes in your job as well as offer to help in as many different capacities as you can to broaden the experience you get.
7 people found this helpful

Intern

June - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Meeting other employees at the State Department and writing information memos.

What I wish was different

I wish I could have been assigned more meetings to attend.

Advice

To apply early!
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Intern

May - July 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

My supervisor gave me a lot of substantial work to do on United Nations reform issues. I felt like I was making real contributions to my office, and I was able to learn a lot from the experience.

What I wish was different

I overbooked myself this summer as I was also completing a fellowship and two classes. It would have been nice to explore the DC area more, and be even more invested in my work at the State Department.

Advice

Don't be afraid to ask questions!
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