My internship with the State Department

Name: Rachael Schroeder

Major: International relations

Where are you interning? Passport Services Office of Integrity and Internal Controls, State Department

What is your title? Intern

How did you get your internship? In a crazy way! During our Honors class, Diplomacy Lab, FIU’s in-house diplomat at the time brought her boss in to talk to students. He offered us a spot in their new internship program for the Consular Affairs Bureau!

How does your internship connect to your current coursework? It has connected in the most unsuspecting ways. Most recently, I went to The Ralph J. Bunche Library Speaker Series presentation on displacement due to the conflict in Syria. I was able to apply what I learned in my refugee and migrants class to ask questions after the presentation.

What is the coolest thing that has happened thus far in your internship? So many cool things have happened throughout my internship! Recently, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a conference, and speak with women who worked for the United Nations Security Council.

What do you enjoy most about your experience? The wonderful people I’ve met through this opportunity – from my co-workers to other interns. I’ve also loved the engaging events offered through our internship program like Capital tours and brown bag speaker events. These events have been very helpful in allowing us to make the most out of living in D.C. for the summer.

What have you learned about yourself? I have the capacity to function at 6 a.m.!

How has the position increased your professional confidence? This internship has allowed me to have daily, hands-on practice with sending professional emails, attending diverse meetings and observing really interesting conferences.

How have you expanded your professional network? Two words: informational interviews. The best advice I’ve received here, “if you have someone’s contact information, reach out to them and ask them for an informational interview.” It has allowed my network in D.C. to grow exponentially across many careers and meet the really inspiring people.

What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Do everything with a smile, no matter how small the task. Be the best barista, copy maker, file organizer, meeting attender, note taker, shadower out there. Attitude can set you apart. It is easy to get caught up in the daily flow of life, but someone that is able to take on every task with a positive attitude stands out from the rest.

FIU in D.C. is working with more than 50 students interning in the nation’s capital this summer. The office has planned several networking programs and continues to serve as a resource for the students as they gain real-world experience in the city. To learn more about the opportunities available with FIU in D.C., visit the office’s website.