"Through research, I found out about the Department of State internship that I had this summer. I know others had told me about the internship, but I really found out about it through a pamphlet in the International Studies office. After I learned about this opportunity, I did some more research and learned about the application process. This internship has been the experience of a lifetime, and I feel so lucky to have been one of the few to obtain it.
For those who wish to apply, I have some advice. Research the bureaus in the State Department and find the ones that interest you and that you would be most qualified for. It is important to have an idea of what the bureau you are applying for does, especially if you want the internship. I talked to some of my colleagues that reviewed the applications at my bureau and I found out the first thing they look at is your GPA. If your GPA is lower than the requirement, they cut you without even looking at the rest of your application. Think about it; hundreds of people apply to this program, if you don't fit the basic requirements they are not going to bother with the rest. So keep that GPA up!
Next, they look at punctuation, grammar, spelling etc. Did you use capital letters when appropriate? These are especially important because it is a reflection on your communication skills. Remember the State Department is responsible for international relations, so communication is a huge part of what they do. You need to make sure that you communicate your ideas effectively and that you are using proper English. If you are unsuccessful, then you'll be cut.
Another thing to note, any experience or job you have had is important, even if you think otherwise. I believe the experiences and jobs that I had working with children made me more competitive for the bureau that I applied for. This is because the Foreign Service Institute is a training facility not only for officers but their family members, including their children. Once again, we see the importance of selecting a bureau that you are qualified for.
Before I had this internship, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with my International Studies major, but now I know what I don't want to do and what I would like to do. I have always wanted to travel, but this internship has reinforced this and now I know that I would like to work with children or teach in a foreign country. When I figured this out, the State Department actually led me in the direction I wanted to go next. I am already in the process of applying to the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea. Maybe I'll get lucky again?
For those of you looking to apply for the State Department internship, good luck! I hope these tips were helpful to you. For those who are still struggling with their International Studies major, find an internship. It will give you an idea of what you can do with this major. You'll be surprised with the possibilities!"
Learn more about the State Department internship.