Written by Kate Kielceski – 2016 Program Advisor, Institute on Economics and International Affairs
Ever since making the decision to major in Political Science, I knew I wanted to spend a summer in Washington, DC. I came across dozens of internships and programs in my research but none of them stood out to me quite like DC Internships. The program seemed almost too good to be true. I applied, was accepted to the Institute on Economics and International Affairs, and had unrealistically high expectations for my experience. But my summer with TFAS was everything I could have hoped for and more.
My interest and experience in politics, international affairs, and human rights landed me an internship placement at the Boroumand Foundation for Human Rights in Iran. I worked closely with the staff and department heads and had opportunities to voice my opinions and make valuable contributions to the organization’s mission and goals. I conducted research for a report to be sent to the United Nations, drafted posts for the organization’s blog, and helped develop the Foundation’s online memorial to Iranians who have been victims of unjust capital punishment. Through my internship, I gained insight into what it’s like to work in Washington, made lasting connections, and learned a lot about my passions and myself.
Outside of the workplace, TFAS also helped me to further both my studies and my professional development. Along with other students in the IEIA program, I took a class on International Economics at George Mason University. This course taught me a lot about economic theory and global political economy and provided me with an opportunity to earn credits toward my major back at my home university. In addition to coursework, TFAS also organized a number of professional development seminars, site visits, and briefings throughout the summer to help students network and learn about the endless possibilities DC has to offer. I got to visit the United Nations Refugee Agency, sit on the floor of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, and tour the Embassy of Greece, all thanks to TFAS.
When I wasn’t busy with my internship, class, or other TFAS events, I was able to enjoy living in Washington and explore the city with friends. From the museums, monuments, and parks to Jazz in the Garden, all-day brunch, and kayaking on the Potomac, summer in the District has something for everyone.
After my program came to an end and my friends and family asked me about my DC experience, I had trouble summarizing my eight incredible weeks. I often found myself simply saying, “It was amazing and I can’t wait to get back to Washington.” My summer with TFAS helped me develop professionally and personally, enabled me to learn more about my interests and passions, gain real-world experience, and make life-long friends. Being a part of TFAS and Living, Learning, and Interning in DC was one of the best decisions of my college-career and I could not recommend the program more highly.