An internship at the State Department and a semester abroad in Germany have convinced Alex Siddall '17 of the value of international education.
Internship in Washington, DC
My semester at the State Department in Washington, DC was easily one of the most rewarding I've had as a student. I interned with EducationUSA, the international college advising center for the State Department.
Promoting international education across the U.S.
EducationUSA promotes U.S. higher education to international students around the world, and has advising centers in more than 170 countries. The organization also works with U.S. higher educational institutions to help internationalize their campuses and to promote international education across the U.S.
The team at EducationUSA is one of a kind, and the respect and appreciation I received from my colleagues was one of the best parts of the internship.
It seemed like my internship flew by, but this didn't stop my colleagues from getting to know me on a professional and personal level. My input was always welcomed by my colleagues and supervisors, and I definitely felt like a part of the team by the time I left. The professional skills I developed at the State Department will stay with me for the rest of my career.
Planning an international conference
As an intern, I assisted with different projects including planning for the yearly forum, where university representatives from all over the world are able to meet directly at a conference in DC. I also worked on social media development and the Opportunity Funds program, where students with financial difficulty are assisted with their applications to U.S. universities.
I was also lucky enough to be an intern during International Education Week, which provided the chance to participate in some special events that only happen once a year.
State Department opportunities
Being an intern at the State Department also provides the opportunity to volunteer and learn beyond the specific office an intern is assigned to.
I was frequently invited to meetings and events which provided extra opportunities to learn about how the State Department functions and to meet State Department senior officials and ambassadors. It was obvious to me that the State Department highly values its interns.
Future career at the State Department
Interning at the State Department had me working with both Foreign Service officers and civil servants. I'm not sure which career path I want to take yet, but I can say that I would like to be back at the State Department in either role.
At this point for immediate plans after graduation, I am planning to pursue a master's degree in international relations.
A passion for international relations
My UMass Dartmouth education has had an enormous impact on my professional goals after graduation.
UMass Dartmouth clearly values international education, as evidenced by the large amount of international students on campus. I have been lucky enough to become friends with many of these international students over my 4 years here, and being exposed to different languages and cultures has shaped my passion for international education and the international relations field as a whole.
Study abroad in Germany
I also studied abroad in Heidelberg, Germany, and visited cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, and Krakow. My study abroad experience gave me the opportunity to travel around Europe with people from other countries as well as the U.S., giving me the chance to become an international student and participate in more cultural exchanges.
"Giving back" to international education
My internship at EducationUSA often felt like my chance to give back to both UMass Dartmouth and EducationUSA by being part of and promoting the system which provides amazing opportunities for students from all over the world to come to the U.S.—a system which has changed my life and given me so many close friends.
My time here at UMass has also been significantly shaped by Prof. Ilana Offenberger, of the History Department, who has been my advisor for the last four years. Without her guidance, advice, and encouragement, my study abroad semester as well as my internship in Washington, D.C. would not have been possible.