https://careers.state.gov

U.S. Department of State

Intern

May - July 2021 • Charleston, SC

What I liked

Getting to learn more about international organizations

What I wish was different

I wish it was in person rather than virtual

Advice

Start the security clearance early
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Intern

June - September 2018 • Seoul, South Korea

What I liked

This internship was very hands on. I was able to research and present on multiple subjects of interest to me, and I assisted at several community outreach events.

What I wish was different

Advice

Remember to pursue the areas that are most relevant to you. If you are interested, ask!
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Social service assistant

June - September 2018 • Dallas, OR

What I liked

Meeting new kinds of people and learning the computer system

What I wish was different

I had more work everyday

Advice

Be open minded and ask questions!
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Summer 2018 Intern

June - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

The State Department treats its interns super well - I got hands on experience with real tasks. There were constantly events to attend and my co-workers (all with incredible experience, some within the Foreign Service) were always offering to take me to lunch to talk about career. I loved my office in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. I learned so much, made many connections, and gained considerable confidence in myself.

What I wish was different

It's really, really difficult to do a full-time unpaid internship. It was worth it for me but very inaccessible and I'm still feeling the loss of all those hours worked unpaid. The State Department needs to make its internships more accessible if they want a more diverse, more qualified pool of applicants.

Advice

Go for it! I applied not expecting to get in, but I threw my hat into the ring and I'm so glad I did. It's an incredible experience that I feel I made the bet of by exploring the Department and meeting for coffee with individuals in each of the Bureaus I was interested in.
17 people found this helpful

Intern

June - August 2018 • Arlington County, VA

What I liked

Lots of opportunities to explore the State Department's different bureaus and network. My supervisor and coworkers were great!

What I wish was different

I wish I had more meaningful work.

Advice

Go to as many events as possible and reach out to bureaus you're interested in.
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Intern

June - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Incredible experience to get an in-depth look at how the government handles foreign policy. Great opportunities to learn about how the State Dept. works and how to manage to get work down in a bureaucratic system. Everyone is eager to teach you and help you mature professionally and expand your understanding of foreign policy.

What I wish was different

Advice

Be proactive and always ask for more opportunities to do work or attend events. You will learn so much and become a major asset to your office if you take the time to develop background knowledge to meet the expectations of your office and bureau.
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Political and Economic Section Intern

May - August 2018 • Astana, Kazakhstan

What I liked

Living overseas in an exciting and new setting was the highlight of my internship. Tight-knit community at the embassy helped me meet many mentors. Access to high level diplomats meant I could get a perspective of the various levels of American foreign policy.

What I wish was different

More interns at post would have made my experience better as I did get lonely sometimes having no peers at the same point in their education as me.

Advice

Learn as much as possible about how embassies run beforehand by reading "Inside an Embassy". It helped me avoid having to spend weeks learning acronyms and job portfolios and let me get right into the work of being at the embassy.
10 people found this helpful

Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I loved being in a workplace where I had the opportunity to work with individuals from different cultures and areas of the globe each and every day. It was incredible to be able to represent the United States and to contribute to mutual understanding and exchange between diverse nations. In this position, I felt like I was truly making a lasting impact.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Case Assistant

July 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Unique work. Specifically, working on international inter parental child abductions . It's meaningful to me to be working on this type of work.

What I wish was different

pay, however, the government doesn't budge much with intern salaries.

Advice

When applying to Department of State, don't discount the title: Although the title stated office automation, the nature of the work was hidden.
1 person found this helpful

Intern

September 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

The responsibilities I have

What I wish was different

I wish there was more socialization with other interns as things get lonely

Advice

Try and take on a little more than you think you can chew and push yourself
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Intern

September 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

It has been incredible working at the center of foreign policy for the United States, especially since it has been exactly what I'm studying in SIS (conflict resolution in Sub-Saharan Africa)

What I wish was different

I wish it was paid, or at least offered a stipend.

Advice

Be assertive about what you want to work with. Everyone I have talked to has been interested in tailoring my work towards what I'm interested in. They have also always been happy to give me work, but because they do all have their own work they can often forget to assign me things so you have to sometimes be willing to take the step to ask for work.
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Human Resources Intern

June - July 2018 • Taipei, Taiwan

What I liked

The people I worked with!

What I wish was different

I wish I’d been able to work for a longer period of time.

Advice

Take advantage of every opportunity!
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Intern

May - August 2018 • Washington, DC

What I liked

The experience aligned perfectly with my future career plans. They had a well-developed intern program with lots of activities and opportunities to learn more. Employees were helpful and welcoming to interns.

What I wish was different

I wish I had designed a cumulative project. It was something suggested to me in the beginning but never really followed up on, and I had little guidance on what I could even do for that, though other interns in the past had started research projects they carried into school.

Advice

Interns should take every opportunity to participate in any way they can, whether it is asking around the office for more projects or attending various events the department puts on. There are so many opportunities to learn more and be fully immersed in the DOS culture.
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Office as

July 2017 - August 2018 • Nogales, AZ

What I liked

I got to do some fairly substantial stuff some of the time, got to help out with cool cases, et cetera.

What I wish was different

I had a lot of unstructured time which felt wasteful

Advice

Don't do the "dress to impress" thing. Dress like a normal human being and do well when asked to do well and be consistent. If that isn't enough in your workplace to do alright, unionize or something.
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Consular Intern

June - August 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

The other foreign service and civil service officers were very helpful and welcomed me in from day 1. The training I went though before starting geared me to fully understand the different areas of the Department and how they function. Being young and living in Washington D.C is an amazing experience in itself. You get to meet so many other motivated young students wanting to truly make a change in the world.

What I wish was different

Advice

Network with as many people as you can while you're there. There are so many meetings and events to go all day at the Department and in general in DC. Try to go to at least a few events a week and network. In the ten weeks I made so many contacts that I still keep in touch with.
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Political Affairs Intern

June - August 2019 • Madrid, Madrid

What I liked

The work was super interesting and multifaceted. I thought my supervisor gave me ample responsibility and treated me as if I were a diplomat.

What I wish was different

I hope that the State Department provides a stipend in the future.

Advice

If you are interested, make sure you know about the region and have a genuine interest in diplomacy/ representing American interests abroad!
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Intern

May - July 2019 • Lyon, Rhône

What I liked

The hands on public diplomacy experience of going out into the city and attending different cultural events in the area to represent the United States.

What I wish was different

I wish there had been a cultural affairs officer employed during my internship to work more on cultural-related tasks.

Advice

Try to apply for a smaller consulate rather than a big embassy, you’ll have closer relationships with the Consul General and staff, and have more opportunities to do work tailored to your interests!
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Intern

May - August 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

I liked how I was given very important tasks to complete. My supervisors were very helpful and always gave me projects that allowed me to accumulate very useful skills. It definitely helped me gain a deeper understanding of the State Department and of the government in general.

What I wish was different

My team travelled a lot, but unfortunately they are no longer able to travel interns. I was usually left in the office with a project while they travelled, which was still very interesting, but it would have been great if I could have travelled with my team. However, all bureaus and teams within the State Department are very different, so other departments may not travel as much as mine did.

Advice

Always have a positive attitude and be willing to help with all tasks. Although photocopying can be tedious, be enthusiastic about every task they give you and act professional. This is how they will evaluate if you can handle the more substantive projects. Meet as many people as you can and stay in contact after you leave. Networking is perhaps the most important aspect of your internship.
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Intern

June - August 2019 • Washington, DC

What I liked

Learned the interworkings of the State Department and now have a good understanding of how the Department runs and how offices work and communicate with each other and other agencies. I also got to learn a lot more about the subject I am passionate about and it exposed me to international collaboration.

What I wish was different

I wish there were professional development sessions. I also wish it was more of an internship program where I could have met other interns and gone to intern events.

Advice

Network as much as possible and reach out to people in your office and other offices/bureaus that you may be interested in because they will remember you and help connect you to people outside of state.
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US Embassy Seoul Intern

June - August 2019 • Seoul, South Korea

What I liked

The Department of State's student internship offers students the option to work at locations in the US as well as embassies all over the world. My favorite part of the internship was learning to interact with Korean businesses and the Korean government in a professional setting.

What I wish was different

Summertime is when many Foreign Service Officers take leave for vacation, so some weeks the office was relatively empty. I wish the internship was available during fall and spring semesters as well.

Advice

Even if you are not directly interested in working for the Department of State, I would recommend applying for the student internship because it offers a unique experience and skills that can be transferred to any type of job.
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