Centre students and summer internships, Part 4: Senior spends summer test-driving Foreign Service career
Written by Elizabeth Trollinger '11
Through Career Services, Centre Internship Plus allows students to apply for high-quality internship experiences—some of which are for academic credit—with extra financial support. Students whose internships are approved receive up to $1,500 to help with expenses.
Wayne Bowles '10 has long had an interest in working for the U.S. Department of State.
"I visited the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. twice while in high school," he says. "It was then I considered it, and more specifically the Foreign Service, as a potential career." Through his Centre Internship Plus this summer in the political and economics section of the American Embassy in Riga, Latvia, Bowles is getting critical experience in the Foreign Service field.
Bowles says the work he's doing for the embassy is truly allowing him to "test drive" a potential career in the Foreign Service.
"In a single day, I'll receive diplomatic instruction from D.C., research the topic of the message, set up a meeting with a cabinet ministry, and finally deliver and explain the U.S. government's stance on a particular issue," he says. "And the next day will be completely different; I might tour the facilities of an American corporation in Latvia or prepare briefings for a U.S. senator's visit to Riga."
Ending up in the small country of Latvia, located in Eastern Europe, was no accident for Bowles.
"When applying, students submit their top two choices of embassies," he explains. "I selected Latvia because, while all embassies essentially serve the same purpose, working in a smaller embassy allows one to see every department at work and how it all comes together."
He says his internship in Latvia seems to be very timely.
"The current global financial crisis has hit Latvia hard—the country has the fastest shrinking economy in the EU. It's a very busy time for the political and economics department of the embassy."
"Although I'm gaining great experience, there's a large out-of-pocket expense," Bowles says. Without his stipend from Centre Internship Plus, Bowles' internship might not have been possible.
"The internship is unpaid and housing is generally not offered," he continues. "I was very fortunate to receive this stipend; I'm getting some real job experience interning here, including briefing new incoming ambassador Judy Garber in a report on Corruption and the Rule of Law in Latvia, as well as the 2009 Human Rights report."
Bowles is using his Centre Internship Plus as a way to further his global education: he attends Russian language classes at the Durbe School of Language in Riga twice a week, and after his internship, he will attend the University of Shanghai in China for his fall 2009 semester abroad.
Bowles says that all of these experiences will put him in an excellent position for a future career in the Foreign Service: "The experience I'm gaining is simply immeasurable."
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