The Foreign Service Journal, December 2019

80 DECEMBER 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT Jacob Borst interned with the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training in summer 2017, with the Virtual Student Federal Service during the 2018- 2019 school year, and with the American Foreign Service Association and The Foreign Service Journal in summer 2018. He also studied abroad in France in 2016. Now a current full-time student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Professional French Master’s Program, he will complete his mandatory internship in a Fran- cophone country or region in the next academic year. Mr. Borst is also a graduate assistant for international programs at the Wisconsin School of Business. M y internship journey began when I was a college sophomore. My goal was simple: get a summer internship so that I could get out of my parents’ house, explore what it means to be me and figure out what I wanted to do with my life—no big deal. The Search for Internships “So … what will you do with a B.A. in international affairs and French?” I was often asked. Pointers on how to get an internship and make it an effective career-builder. BY JACOB BORST suggestion: an internship with a foreign embassy. I did a simple Google search— et voilà! The French embassy in D.C. offered internships for American college students. Talking to your professors can be a valuable first step as you begin your research. I was on my way. Know your strengths and weak- nesses. When considering where to apply, also think about your preferences. For instance, if you’re a strong writer, your best bet might be an editorial internship. Or if, say, math isn’t a strong suit, an internship involving statistical analysis probably isn’t the route for you. Don’t be put off by challenging tasks, though, and don’t limit yourself by stick- ing only with what you know. Apply to internships that will expand your profes- sional repertoire. Research the organization. As tempting as it can be, don’t just click on the organization’s intern page and start applying. Take a look at the website. Read the mission statement. Understand All About Internships My automatic response was “government work,” because that was all I knew. When first looking for internships, I was stumbling around in the dark. Where did I want to intern? How would I find places to apply? How many should be on my list? Here’s what I figured out. Talk to professors you trust. Since I had a general idea of what I wanted— something including both my majors— I went to my French professor. Once I explained my interests, she offered a LANDING AN INTERNSHIP