“What I take from the responsibility of an internship is the importance of the little things–dress code, showing up on time, being polite, turning in work on time–and how they lead to big things,” Cristina Goerdt said about her internship in the summer of 2018. A UD junior majoring in history and politics, Goerdt was a Public Diplomacy intern at the US Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands.
During her internship at the Embassy, Goerdt did research for and ran social media campaigns, photographed and wrote on official events, and made contributions to the Embassy’s website such as features on Dutch Fulbright Scholarship applicants.
The internship was a learning experience in several regards for Goerdt. Her assignments gave her experience in practical, real-world research and practice on concision, focus, and clarity in her writing. She found that the necessary research in her internship differed greatly from academic research; she had been accustomed to “researching on platforms such as JSTOR, but this research is a different kind. It is looking at companies you could partner with or looking for products.” She also described how it was interesting to observe culture in the workplace, “how much, say, the United States has abroad and how diplomacy is not something that you learn in textbooks. Real diplomacy is demonstrated in ways like the celebration of Dutch-French Friendship Day.”
Internships often provide some clarity and guidance in career choice. After this summer, Goerdt said that she is considering journalism more seriously and looking at a career in the State Department. The exposure to the political domain, networking opportunities, and experience with information gathering and synthesis were all valuable aspects of her internship.
Goerd highlighted her skills and experience in journalism, social media, and research when applying for the internship. Goerdt encouraged, “Don’t be scared to apply because you never know. Many people are discouraged before even trying to apply.”
When writing an essay for an internship application, she recommended focusing on your interests and what is important to you. While a company may be looking for a certain skill set, they also want to see that an intern demonstrates the capacity to learn new things. “I didn’t expect the variety of tasks I was asked to do and the amount of responsibility they gave me as an intern,” Goerdt said. “I also learned the importance of taking initiative. I continually asked for more work to do, which provided me with the opportunity to work on projects and learn skills I would not have otherwise learned.”
Goerdt enjoyed the internship so much that she has applied to work at the Embassy in Paris and several other State Department jobs for the summer of 2019.
Now is a good time for undergraduates to consider internships for the next summer, because many require early application deadlines. To schedule an appointment with a career advisor, click here.