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Student Internship Experiences

Gain Internship Experience in San Diego

Serena Santoni 

Degree: Bachelor of Arts Candidate, International Studies - Economics, expected 2015

My experiences working with San Diego's non-profits, including interning at the San Diego Diplomacy Council, and being Co-Chair of the Global Classroom with the United Nations Association-USA San Diego Chapter have been opportunities to have an impact on San Diego and work towards creating a more peaceful, international focused, and inspired community. At the San Diego Diplomacy Council (SDDC), I focused on programming through their Department of State International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). I worked closely with the program coordinator on conducting research, updating the Department of State database, and the programming process. This included drafting proposals, creating programs, meeting with the international delegates, and even accompanying our delegations to their meetings. It was a truly invaluable experience, as I met experts from all over the world who came through IVLP whether it was Trafficking in Persons, Women's Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, or Interfaith Communities.

As part of the Global Classroom, I engage with different groups in the San Diego community, often traveling to schools across the city. The discussions cover a range of important topics including human rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, women's rights, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Through the UNA, I've been able to help facilitate the Post-2015 Civic Society Consultation at the San Diego and Southern California Division, and have traveled to UN headquarters in New York to participate in the Post-2015 Development 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference. It has been truly inspiring to meet others as focused on making a difference within the local as well as the international community.

Patrick Johnson, Class of 2014

Degree: Bachelor of Arts, International Studies - Economics and History

Last winter I realized that to make my college career complete, I needed to get an internship under my belt. At the same time, I realized I desperately wanted to complete a lot of internships because I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduating in one very short year. To get experience in my top three (very different) career path interests, I applied and juggled internships for each. In the humanitarian field, I worked for Project Concern International as an intern for their Business Development Unit - the grant writing division of the organization. Project Concern International is a San Diego-based NGO that works on diverse projects across the globe, including women’s empowerment and combating AIDS. To satisfy my curiosity with the corporate world, I next interned at the World Trade Center in downtown San Diego - a public-private entity that works to promote and facilitate international trade for San Diego businesses. Working at the San Diego World Trade Center was an excellent combination of my International Studies major and Business minor. The experience allowed me to glean quite a bit of savvy business insight from the professional staffs. The most impactful internship was with the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) at UCSD. As an intern, I helped facilitate a conference on public policy concerning nuclear proliferation. It was the most impactful because I got to work with such a stunning group of intellectuals. This experience has convinced me to pursue a career in academia, with goals of eventually getting a doctorate degree in Foreign Affairs. I look forward to completing my International Studies Honors Thesis with gusto, as both a summary capstone to my UCSD studies, and a preparatory project for future graduate studies.

Gain Internship Experience Abroad

Firas Ayyad, Class of 2014 (Abroad in Jerusalem)

Degree: Bachelor of Arts, International Studies, Master of International Affairs

As a student interested in a wide range of topics in the international arena, I felt the International Studies Program at UCSD was designed carefully for that very purpose. I have always had an affinity for learning about different cultures, but I also wanted to learn how global politics were conducted and how they affected international economics. The ISP program did just that. My primary track was in political science, and my secondary was economics, which provided me with a solid foundation of both theory and quantitative skills. This, in turn, prepared me to enter the graduate program at IR/PS, which allows me to complete my masters in 1 year, rather than 2, through the 5 year BA/MIA Program. My favorite part about the BA/MIA program is the requirement to complete a summer internship. The skills I acquired through the program enabled me to land an internship in the Protection Department of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem. There, I was given the opportunity to oversee the various programs UNRWA runs, such as food distribution, relief and social services, job creation, and crisis response. Furthermore, I was given the opportunity to design and implement a training program for social workers on methods of response to home demolitions conducted by the Israeli Army, as well as forced displacement, and death and injury. Now that I am embarking on my final year of the program, I am excited to find out what new skills I will learn, and what the future will bring me as a graduate of such an impressive and prestigious program.

Elizabeth Yang, Class of 2014 (Abroad in Thailand)

Degree: Bachelor of Arts, International Studies, Master of International Affairs

I chose International Studies as my undergraduate major because I knew I wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to travel and make a global impact. When I discovered that the BA/MIA program was an advanced opportunity to study deeper in international economics and politics, I decided to apply to the program and was fortunately accepted. To be honest, the BA/MIA program is demanding. The first-year coursework consists of a rigorous variety of both quantitative and qualitative subjects, such as accounting, finance, and political analysis. Though these classes sound administrative and business oriented, they prepare you for a foundation to work in any sector, public, private, or non-profit, anywhere around the world. Then, BA/MIA students are required to find a summer internship after the first year of graduate coursework since most of us have gone straight into graduate work from studying as an undergraduate.

Although my career track is International Politics with a regional specialization in Korea, I did my summer internship with the international NGO, Save the Children, in Thailand. My main task was to develop the Thailand office's prospective program strategy for the next two years; in addition, I was also able to take part in child rights situation analysis meetings, visit project locations, and even help facilitate a youth forum for human trafficking and migration. After meeting and interacting with a wide range of stakeholders including government officials, donors, partners, and beneficiaries, I inherited a firsthand introduction to the international NGO work environment and a refreshed perspective on what critical issues still remain for the future generation, especially in low and middle income countries.

Should I have taken a different route, I may currently be studying law or working elsewhere. But given the opportunity to study at IR/PS, I am able to receive direct insight from professors who directly advise the Congress, have guided career assistance from a stellar career services, and build relationships with older-experienced students who come from a variety of professional backgrounds, as well. Plus, we BA/MIA kids take extra good care of each other, too. Now, going into my second and final year of my studies, I am looking forward to return to school and prepare the next step of my career path post-graduation. Overall, I am grateful to have joined the IR/PS community and proud to soon become a member of the IR/PS BA/MIA alumni.

Kyle William King, Class of 2013

Degree: Bachelor of Arts, International Studies, Master of International Affairs

During the summer of 2012, I ventured down into Mexico City to do an internship in "Transfer Pricing" at a consulting firm called Chevez, Ruiz y Zamarripa. There I learned what it's like to work within a consulting firm and to wear a suit and tie every day. I learned a lot about Transfer Pricing. Up until the internship, I really had no idea what it really was other than what Wikipedia had told me about it. The firm was filled with incredibly genuine and helpful employees who really wanted us to learn as much as possible while including us as part of the team in conducting analytical reports. Every person there made it a priority to make us feel welcome and to give us advice about really experiencing a good time while down in the capitol. I went down there with two other guys from our program and that made it really nice to not have to take it all on by myself. The workweek kept us pretty busy, but as soon as the weekend hit, we went and tackled as many places as we could possibly do in a day. We went to places like Teotihuacan Pyramids, Chapultepec Park, Chapultepec Castle, Athropologia Museum and, of course, Acapulco, and much more. Contrary to the typical belief of Mexico, my experience was incredibly safe and I never encountered a single issue or discomfort for my safety. The people all around were always willing to lend a helping hand and offer directions (we got lost quite a bit). My experiences in Mexico will be the best memories in my life. I cannot express the euphoria I felt down there among it all. I really enjoyed every minute. I'm even considering options to live and work down there after my education. Adios....

Intern at UC Center Sacramento (UCCS)

Amy Nguyen, ISP Junior

International Studies - Political Science

While at UCCS, I interned at the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR). As a non-partisan, research-based state planning agency, the OPR makesfor a very unique and bustling work environment. While there is some form of hierarchy within the agency, everyone is very friendly and open to conversation, so the vertical aspect is not emphasized and there is a very lateral feel. I was also very surprised to see how many different independent projects are floating around the office. This wide spread of expertise really gave me a great opportunity to choose which projects I wanted to work with. I wasinvolved in multiple projects, some of which include updating the California General Plan Guidelines, improving the planning and implementation of the California National Security Mission, and conducting independent original research about global reporting platforms for greenhouse gas emissions.

The most valuable thing that this experience offered me was the opportunity to work in a real professional environment. Learning through a textbook is definitely not the same as living the textbook; information certainly sticks better when you can see how it’s applicable to real life.Some examples of skills I’ve learned are CEQA document processing, data gathering and compiling, networking, and public speaking. UCCS is an experience that is unique to everyone, no matter what your major! I definitely think that everyone should consider this program.