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Abroad at AU | Internships

In their free time, Abroad at AU students may apply for and participate in unpaid, non-credit internships at businesses, NGOs, government agencies and multilateral institutions in the Washington, DC area. However, the scope of the Abroad at AU program is primarily academic, and internships are not a main component of the program. Interested students are responsible for finding and obtaining their own internships. Admitted students create an online student portal that allows them to utilize American University's award winning Career Center for help with internship searches, resume and cover letter writing, and other career guides. Because internships in Washington, DC can be competitive it is recommended students begin the process of creating a resume and working with the Career Center before they arrive in country, especially if the student will only study at AU for one semester.

Featured Internships

Maria Bravo Elvira

Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Spain
Abroad at AU Student: Academic Year, 2013-2014
AU Study Focus: International Studies

As an International Studies Major, Maria wanted to gain experience working in DC in International Studies. She found the perfect opportunity to do so in the Media Department in the Jordanian Embassy. As an intern her responsibilities included: assisting staff with research, analyzing foreign policy articles related to US-Jordan relations, writing participant bios for event, sharing event information, and taking comprehensive notes during events. While Maria says having an internship was a new and sometimes challenging experience, working in the Jordanian Embassy taught her a lot about the Middle East and its relationship with the US. She also felt it was an excellent way to practice her English outside of the classroom and added to “ordinary student life.” Through her internship Maria met many interesting people and learned about US and Middle Eastern politics and culture.

Gina Uppal

Western University, Canada
Abroad at AU: Spring 2013
AU Study Focus: Health and Development

Along with courses at AU focused on Health and Development, Gina interned in Washington, DC at the Results for Development Institute. As a Health Innovations Intern within the Center for Health Market Innovations, Gina’s role included managing and maintaining the online databases and external communications. Working with the database and online presence, Gina researched and contacted programs around the globe, wrote several published blog articles, and increased the exposure of CHMI internationally. Through this internship, Gina realized her passion for Health Development and was inspired through discussions with program managers at the organization to pursue her goal of working in the field. Taking classes such as “Global Health Politics” and “Issues in Women’s Health” on campus, Gina’s internship was truly the ‘real life’ application of her university degree. “During my time in DC I not only took amazing courses around health and development at American University, but I got to see “development in action” through an internship at Results for Development Institute – a leading think tank in the heart of the city.”

Marija Garilov with friends

Marija Garilov

University of Novi Sad, Serbia
Abroad at AU Student: Academic Year, 2012-2013
AU Study Focus: Sociology

As a Sociology major at American University, Marija was searching for a hand-on experience downtown when she applied for her internship. Working as a Research Intern at Woman’s National Democratic Club in Dupont Circle, Marija not only helped directly in the office but observed and participated in forward discussions and actions for Women’s rights and inclusion in politics. As an assistant to the Vice-President of Public Policy Committee, she researched issues around the 2012 election for a book the organization was later publishing. Marija also had the opportunity to be surrounded and inspired by DC’s female leaders, attending meetings and having discussions with various members of the Club. She states, “Listening to a dozen strongly opinionated women discuss politics was when I realized why we need more women involved and the process of empowering women is the solution to the issues we face.” Overall the experience was a powerful one for Marija and provided a real life application to the ideas and academics of the classroom. “Needless to say, I broadened by knowledge on the U.S. politics, elections, as well as the internal challenges the nation is facing.”

Sian McGee

Sian McGee

University of Queensland, Australia
Abroad at AU Student: Spring 2011

During her semester at American University, Sian interned at Human Rights First on Capitol Hill. Interning at this non-government organization she was able to give practical effect to her legal studies by working on domestic human rights legislation and interviewing refugees and asylum seekers for placement with pro bono legal representation. Interning within an active policy advocacy organization also directly exposed her to the structure, processes and functions of American government. Sian's time at Human Rights First gave her first hand experience with American approaches to international problems and greatly enriched her exchange experience both professionally and personally.

See Sian's blog posts about her internship on American University's Career Center Web site.

Carl Huang shaking hands with a co-worker at his internship

Carl Huang

National Chengchi University, Taiwan
Abroad at AU Student: Fall 2010 - Spring 2011

Carl participated in two separate internships, first at the Center for Asian Studies at AU in the fall semester and then at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation in the spring. The Foundation is a think-tank focused on relationships between the United States and Asian countries. Through his internship Carl had the opportunity to meet policy makers, hill staffers and cooperation leaders who have expertise in the US and Asia, such as the former US ambassador to Japan. Over the course of five months Carl assisted in more than seven different programs ranging from US-Japan fellowship, policy dialogues, and Web-publications, to roundtable discussion. He also assisted in the Foundation’s Web site renovation.

See Carl’s blog posts about his internship on American University’s Career Center Web site.

Walter Levia sitting in front of a sign for El Salvador at his internship

Walter Leiva

Universidad Centroamericana, El Salvador
Abroad at AU Student: Fall 2009 - Spring 2010

Walter interned at the Organization of American States in the Office of the Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin. He was responsible for keeping everyone in the department updated on current news related to reconstruction efforts in Haiti and other key issues. He also prepared documentation about the current economic and political conditions of member states.

Walter interned four times a week along side his full course load. Reflecting on his internship he said that "it was not easy at all, but in those moments when I felt like giving up I just thought of how lucky I am to be here and how all that I'm doing right now will have an impact on my professional and personal development. All the people I met, the events that I attended and all I learned about this organization and its work is a valuable gift that I'm very grateful for."

Qiong Wu

Qiong Wu

Beijing Foreign Studies University, China
Abroad at AU Student: Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

During the academic year, Qiong interned for the Chinese Service TV team at Voice of America, a multimedia international broadcasting, service funded by the U.S. Government. Her internship gave her a wide range of practical experiences that will help her pursue a future career in broadcasting including translating, writing, video editing and field shooting. Qiong's biggest projects included narrating the Mandarin version of Cultural Odyssey, a TV program about American culture for a Chinese Audience, and editing the VOA's news podcast Daily Download. The highlight of her internship was being involved in the live radio broadcast of the 2008 presidential election and working on the National Mall during President Obama's inauguration.

Valetine Pasquesoone

Valentine Pasquesoone

Sciences Po Lille, France
Abroad at AU: Fall 2008 - Spring 2009

During her time at American University, Valentine interned for the International Affairs Forum, the web journal of the non-profit organization the Center for International Relations. This internship allowed Valetine to combine her two interests of journalism and international relations, focusing on the Middle East and the European Union. Valetine independently conducted interviews with important scholars and policy experts on a variety of issues. One of highlights of the internship was Valetine's work on a team that compiled articles for a comprehensive journal on NATO.

A student at their internship at Korean Embassy