Opportunity Leads to Opportunity

An internship with the State Department does not have to end once your 10 weeks are up.  There are so many ways to stay involved with State from internships to jobs to scholarship programs.  After you get your foot in the door, throw it wide open.

Let’s start off with the most boring opportunity: re-applying for the same Student Intern Program.  It is the exact same job, same lack of pay, but you can apply to a different Bureau and do something completely different.  The benefit is that once you have already worked at State, it is easier to get a position within the organization.  Say you applied to be an intern with the Office on Human Rights but instead got bumped into Protocol.  After working at Protocol for a semester, Human Rights is a lot more likely to take you for your dream internship, especially if you have a good recommendation from your former boss.

Stay-in-School is a program that makes you into a part-time, paid federal employee.  Earning $15 per hour and having the flexibility to work anywhere from 12-30 hours per week is hard to come by.  Additionally, you get to keep the State Dept on your resumé even longer.  The only drawback is that it has to be initiated from within the Dept–you can only apply for this after having done a regular internship.  That means that your current boss will likely keep you in or around your current office.  You won’t get to switch to that dream job in Human Rights because only people who know you will start this application process for you.  You’re still in Protocol, but you’re paid well.

The final (and in my opinion) and best opportunity left is to apply for the same old Student Intern Program but apply for one of the abroad offices.  These positions can be paid or unpaid, provide housing or not.  A lot of the program depends on where you apply to.  You start out by picking two bureaus.  Take my application for example.  I applied to the Bureaus of European Affairs and of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  From there I picked two countries (one from each region) that I wanted to work in.  I chose Austria and Malaysia.  You fill out the exact same forms except for two additional ones on language ability.  If you have already worked for State, supposedly you are a shoo-in.  I’ll let you know about that if I get it.  You can apply to work over the summer or during a semester.  Either way, you get first hand experience working in foreign policy in an U.S. Embassy abroad.

As always, don’t forget the ton of great abroad-oriented scholarships State offers such as the Fulbright, NSEP/Boren, Critical Language Scholarship, and the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program.  Apply. You only live once.