The NSLI-Y experience extends beyond the program itself as NSLI-Y students continue to do great things that make full use of their passion for other cultures and languages. Many NSLI-Y students hold foreign service aspirations and work as interns at various U.S. embassies around the world.
Learn more about U.S. State Department internships here.
Alexa – Consular Intern, Reykjavik, Iceland – NSLI-Y Arabic, Semester 2009
“My main responsibilities included fingerprinting applicants, printing visas, placing visas into passports, and responding to consular inquiries daily via phone and email. Occasionally I drafted or edited cables, memos, briefs, and diplomatic notes (consular and political). I also updated, edited, and added information to the embassy’s websites, helped set up for public diplomacy events, planned the “Office Olympics,” conducted validation studies, and interviewed Icelandic students for the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship program. Once I realized I wanted to become a foreign service officer, I knew interning at an embassy would be the best way for me to gain insight about the job. I was honestly just very grateful to be able to see, from the inside, how an embassy functions. It was wonderful just being able to experience the daily life of a foreign service officer. Before my internship, I thought I wanted to become a management officer. After interning in the consular section, I realized my personality is better suited for a consular officer, someone who spends most of their time issuing visas and helping Americans.”
“I learned the importance of developing strong cultural ties and relations between
the U.S. and our global partners to support and enhance democracy, and encourage American students to study abroad in less common countries. During my internship, I helped organize meetings and security debriefings with incoming exchange students, assisted U.S. Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone with several press events, and developed a monthly newsletter with social media statistics. My knowledge of Turkish helped me build stronger connections with the embassy staff, and also provided me with the opportunity to assist with outside events and research projects in which my knowledge of Turkish was extremely useful. My favorite aspect of working at the embassy was the sense of community among the staff. It was incredibly rewarding to experience Turkey, but also have that sense of home (America) at the same time.”
“eInterns serve as a kind of cultural ambassador, aiding Americans in learning more
about Belarus and vice versa. As part of this effort, we have made videos about our universities and have run an Instagram account called USBelarusConnect. We also post photos of
university life in America. I hold weekly Skype sessions with groups of students at a library in Brest as well. Finally, I am compiling a guide for the embassy on social media use in Belarus. I use my language skills in all aspects of my virtual internship! Our Instagram posts and videos are in both English and Russian. In my research, I frequently use Russian language sources. And although the goal of my Skype sessions with Belarusian students is to allow them to practice their English, I occasionally have to switch to Russian to clarify misunderstandings or vocabulary. My favorite part of my internship has been the Skype sessions with students. I love simultaneously helping them with their English and learning more about Belarusian culture and life. My internship has reaffirmed my interest in cultural and human diplomacy.”
“I developed public presentations about State Department exchange programs and grant opportunities, planned cross-cultural speakers and events, and assumed primary responsibility for creating daily press clips from Russian and Georgian sources for dissemination to bureaus in D.C. My internship was enhanced by my Russian language skills, since it expanded the wealth of resources I could access and the people with whom I could communicate. I appreciated the chance to interact with many departments and branches of the diplomatic service, and I especially enjoyed supporting the events and programs which the Embassy produced for the Georgian public. I am most proud of my official cable draft about ethnic minority access to media, and my efforts to prepare resources and briefing points about domestic violence in Georgia for the embassy’s participation in the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.”