Politics and International Relations
Class of 2019 | Internship Location: Washington Institute
- UC Democrats
- Melrose Fellows
- International Relations Club (Model UN)
- Omega Chi sorority
I spent a semester at the Washington Internship Institute.
While in Washington, DC I interned at the National Peace Corps Association, the advocacy sector of the Peace Corps. As an intern there I advocated for longer health care coverage and better health care for returned Peace Corps volunteers. Many RPCV’s come back with some kind of disease (often tropical) and are not well taken care of through necessary legislation. To do this, we worked together with Rep. Kennedy III of Massachusetts who introduced a “Dear Colleague” letter to Congress. In addition to this, I was able to work with my boss, JM, and the other Advocacy Intern, Sam, to secure a $410 million Peace Corps budget for the next fiscal year.
At the Washington Internship Institute, I was part of a 20 student cohort that studied U.S foreign policy. As part of this, we discussed current events, the Syrian conflict and had several guest speakers. Towards the end of our course, we wrote memos to the United States government advocating on behalf of a country or group involved in the Syrian civil war. This cohort grew very close together and we even celebrated Australia Day for the two Australian students in the program!
Most Valuable Part of the Experience
The most valuable experience for me was going into the House and Senate office buildings and being able to get a hands-on experience in advocating for returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV’s). I even got to lobby my own Representative!
In addition to that, the educational value of living in D.C was non-replaceable. I not only got to attend events discussing important current events especially in foreign aid, but I also got to meet many experts at different sites. One of those experts was Dr. Michael Werz, who is a counterterrorism and security expert at the Center for American Progress.
Personally, living in D.C and living and working with people from all around the world and the United States provided me with amazing bonds and friendships but also personal growth. I met the most motivated, intelligent and driven people I could have ever imagined and together we were all in D.C to achieve something!
Most Challenging Part of the Experience
Washington, DC is a very driven and motivated city. It is said that people in D.C are only looking out for themselves. My first day in DC I perceived it as just that and felt displaced. I then started working at the National Peace Corps Association and getting to know my roommates and cohort, who were all very supportive. Additionally going to events also provided me with valuable connections and all of the experts I talked to were supportive and eager to give me advice. The connections I made in D.C are still valuable and pivotal to me today and I am still in contact with all of the friends I made in D.C today!
P.S The real challenge was the subway:)