As summer approaches, SPEA students are not only trying to juggle their academic workload, but they are also getting ready for their summer internships. Searching and applying for an internship can be a rewarding experience in and of itself; however, finding the time to do so often can become a daunting task. SPEA’s career services would always advise student to start early, but often we get caught up with school and would struggle to use our spare time for internship applications.
The process of searching to completing an internship has been a rewarding journey for me, particularly because as an international student, I had to overcome the additional tasks of complying with visa status requirements and familiarizing myself with the U.S. job market. As I walked through each step of the internship process, I learned about not only the procedural aspect of dealing with all the paperworks to satisfy my internship requirement at SPEA, I also gained the experiences of looking for housing in Washington, DC and working in an non-academic professional setting. I had the opportunity of working with the Government Transformation team at Partnership for Public Service. The Partnership is a nonprofit organization that aims to “revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.” The team which I worked with specifically aimed to improve federal management and performance; in other words, the team offered pro bono consulting service to federal agencies. The team also consists of support from the private sector, which provides assistance among various projects. Due to the nature of the organization, I assisted with tasks ranging from general administrative work to facilitating meetings with NASA and USAID. In that process, I gained valuable experience and learned to interact and network with miscellaneous types of people. One of the most rewarding things for my internship is the connections I made through my work.
Not only did I get a sense of what it would be like to work in the real world, I also now have a better idea of what skill sets I still would like to develop before I graduate. I always think one of the toughest challenges is having a job that I do not like, for whatever the reason. I believe an internship is a great way to get acquainted with a job or a sector, and it may help you decide whether the orientation of your goals and career path after graduation is really what you have always thought it would be.
For more information about the Partnership, check out http://www.ourpublicservice.org/OPS/