I am a senior from Auburn, CA studying international relations, with concentrations in international security diplomacy and the Middle East and Northern Africa, and minoring in Middle Eastern studies. I interned in the military affairs department for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 policy institute focusing on foreign policy and national security.
The internship was really rewarding. I enjoyed researching and briefing developing threats that pose a concern to our national security. I was really surprised by the caliber of people I was fortunate to have met at our annual speaker series, and even people that come in for meetings at the office. Members of the foundation range from highly qualified senior fellows to former national security advisers to previous administrations. This experience wass very rewarding, and I hope that I continue to develop my skills to research and communicate ideas that can have an impact on our national security at home and abroad.
The program allowed me to visualize and get a feel for the DC lifestyle. I have concluded that I really do enjoy being here, and I especially enjoy that this city forces you to keep up with current events. One thing can change in the blink of an eye, and I enjoy being on alert and reacting to these changes. DC has really made it easy to network, and be around people that have incredible experience.
Future students: keep yourself in the loop with current events, and challenge yourself to think analytically and write in a brief and concise manner. I would also recommend that you arrive with a mindset to learn and establish your name everywhere you go. Sometimes you only get to shake hands with people once, and I recommend never questioning if you should approach somebody of interest.