Political Science and National Security Major Lands Internship in Dubai
Samantha Mendence ’19 reflects on the start of her U.S. State Department internship with the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai, leaving the United States for the first time, and living nearly 7,000 miles from home.
October 17, 2018
By Samantha Mendence ’19, Political Science and National Security
After declaring a dual major in political science and national security during my sophomore year, and subsequently taking introductory courses in Arabic, I knew that the Middle East was the region I wanted to specialize in. I quickly learned that I would have to fulfill an internship requirement and relished the idea of completing my internship overseas.
Upon taking Dr. Lennon’s U.S. foreign policy course, I realized that I had a genuine interest in international negotiations and diplomacy. I learned that the U.S. Department of State offered internships at embassies and consulates around the globe, and I quickly applied for posts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and I was selected to intern at the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai, UAE.
This opportunity has allowed me to draw on critical thinking and problem-solving skills that I have learned from classes and apply them to real-world issues relating to U.S. foreign policy.
Samantha Mendence ’19
My experience thus far in Dubai has been unique and absolutely incredible, to say the least. I am serving in the consular section, where I am mainly learning about the adjudication process of non-immigrant visas and assisting with services for Americans living abroad here. I am not only learning about the inner-workings of the State Department, but I am gaining practical exposure to fascinating national security concerns regarding visas.
I’ve gotten to be a part of briefings on refugee resettlement, cybersecurity and fraud risks, and other local projects. This opportunity has allowed me to draw on critical thinking and problem-solving skills that I have learned from classes and apply them to real-world issues relating to U.S. foreign policy.
On top of the knowledge and experience I am gaining through my internship, I am also in one of the most diverse cities in the world, and I am surrounded by more than 200 different nationalities and cultures.
It was nerve-wracking leaving the U.S. for the first time, moving to a new city across the world by myself, and figuring out how to navigate and live on my own. But this city is filled with some of the kindest and most interesting people I’ve ever met. I am excited for what the next few months have in store for me.