‘This is Definitely a Place Where I Would Love to Work in the Future’
As an intern at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., I am learning firsthand what it would be like to work for the government while applying what I’ve been learning as a national security major at the University.
August 1, 2022
By Vidushi Jha ’23
In some ways, I feel like my internship chose me. I had applied to more than 15 internships, and I had not heard back from any of them, until this one. I just happened to get lucky that the right office within the State Department read my application and thought I would be a good fit.
My main career goal is to work in national security and intelligence, and probably the best place you can do that is in government. While the State Department has more of a foreign policy focus, this internship will allow me to learn more about specific national security topics I am interested in, enable me to develop skills such as analytical writing that are applicable to working in intelligence, and discover more about government in general. Much of what I am learning in school is about certain issues in national security, how to be a better writer, and how to think critically, and I feel that I can apply all of these skills to my internship.
In my time at the State Department in Washington, D.C., I hope to learn more about the government. I have never had any experience working in government before, and I don’t have any family who could guide me in that area. This internship will allow me to learn more about different agencies that deal with national security issues and, since I plan to graduate in the next year, might help me figure out exactly what I want to do after I graduate. I hope to develop some contacts within the government as well, as I need to expand my network.
‘It is definitely an intense environment’
The first week was quite overwhelming. I pretty much had a crash course in government, and it was a lot to take in. My office, in particular, is very fast paced, as a lot of our work requires us to quickly gather the facts and make a decision pretty quickly. I am easily the youngest in the office by fifteen years, but everyone has been really kind and willing to answer all of my questions. Everyone has been really friendly, but it is definitely an intense environment.
I tend to do my best work under a time crunch, so the pace of my office definitely works with my personality. And everyone does realize that I have basically never done this before, so they give me lots of instructions and guidance in order to succeed.
This is definitely a place where I would love to work in the future. So far, I’ve really enjoyed the work and the environment. My office actually gives me substantive work, not just “intern tasks” and that has allowed me to learn more. I really enjoy the tasks I have been doing, and this internship has solidified that this is the kind of work I want to do in the future.