"This summer, I had a wonderful opportunity to intern at The Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) at the Institute of International Education (IIE) in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. CIES administers the Fulbright Scholars Program for the U.S. Department of State. I interned with the Outreach unit, which is mainly responsible for the advertising and the public relations aspect of the Fulbright Scholars Program.
Throughout the internship, I worked on various projects, which helped to improve my research and interpersonal skills in a professional context. My favorite project was the Fulbright "Ambassadors Program." My duties involved contacting the Fulbright Alumni via phone and email and suggesting conferences and workshops for them to attend in order to present their experiences to a new generation of faculty and staff at America's colleges and universities. I enjoyed talking with the alumni and listening to their inspirational stories of the impact that the Fulbright experience had on their personal and professional life.
Another related project I worked on was mapping the locations on Google maps of past conferences that the Fulbright Ambassadors had attended. From this effort, we could see not only where the Outreach Unit had already promoted the Fulbright program but also where we needed to concentrate new outreach efforts.
As time passed, I began to realize that it's a special kind of person who chooses to work in the field of international education. Most of the employees at CIES have lived abroad for extended periods of time and are very interested in other countries, cultures, and languages. Everyone brought a level of interest in travel and global affairs and where informed about the world in a way that is unique to people who travel extensively. Conversations with my colleagues about international events that were taking place such as the London Olympics were enjoyable and educational.
Being an intern is about learning and understanding an organization's mission and how it guides the employees through their work everyday. I could see my CIES colleagues' dedication and passion in advancing the Fulbright mission to "promote international cooperation for education and cultural advancement." In the beginning, I was just excited to have my own cubicle, phone, company coffee mug, and to be living in Washington, with all its great museums and outstanding restaurants. But as time passed, I grew as a person—I gained confidence in my ability to interact with a variety of people and became aware of my increasing interest in the field of international education exchange.
When I reflect on my summer internship, I realize I was fortunate to work with and learn from an outstanding group of professionals who are dedicated to promoting the Fulbright experience. I hope I can make such a contribution in my future career."