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Internship Field: International Relations, Conference Organization and Evaluation

Major: International Relations

Host: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik (DGAP)

Location: Berlin

Duration: June – September 2008


Description: The core of my internship was devoted to the preparations for the IFST International Summer School, held annually in July. As my internship began, I was responsible primarily for compiling a selection of readings to accompany the discussions the participants of the summer school would have with guest speakers. In addition, I, with the help of the other IFST intern, was responsible for planning the field trips in which the summer school students participated. In this role, I was responsible for visiting historical sites in and around Berlin, planning tours, transportation, and entertainment.


With the commencement of the two-week summer school I was responsible for many of the technical logistics such as arranging for laptops for the use of participants and the setting up of presentations for guest lecturers. Furthermore, I was assigned to moderate the discussion of a ‘working group’ comprised of eight participants, focusing their discourse and ultimately ensuring that our time was used effectively discussing topics relative to their final report.

After the International Summer School drew to a close, my responsibilities focused on the preparation of an 80 page final report, for distribution within the organization, to our sponsors, to our participants, and to their affiliated institutions. My primary objective in the final two weeks of my internship was to write critical accounts of the lectures and presentations the participants encountered in their two weeks, highlighting the discourse and contentions between our guest speakers and participants. Additionally, because of my proficiency with English, it became my final job at the DGAP to copy edit the entire final document, checking not only for grammatical errors, but also improving syntax and general semantics.

Comments: The projects upon which I worked were wonderful opportunities for me to apply my passion for international politics and the skills which I have acquired at Stanford in the course of my studies in a meaningful work experience. Although I enjoyed selecting readings for the summer school’s participants, perhaps more rewarding was the discourse with my co-workers on


the subject of, often times, controversial material. Furthermore, during the course of the summer school, acting as a moderator for the Asia ‘working group’ allowed me the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the values and beliefs of a diverse group of young individuals, all passionate and open to learning from each other and their convictions. However, I hold that the most rewarding and valuable part of my internship was the confidence I have gained in myself; the confidence to excel in the most foreign and challenging of environments.

German language skills: Before the commencement of my internship I was comfortable that I was capable of understanding a fair amount of German from my two years studying the language through Stanford. However, there is nothing that prepares you for having to function day-to-day in an environment in which German is the primary language. To be frank, I was not comfortable, at first, speaking in German; yet, as I began to become more comfortable with my coworkers my mistakes seemed more trivial and I began to enjoy having the opportunity to attempt speaking in German and learning from my mistakes. I wholeheartedly miss the environment I have left so far behind and cannot wait to have the opportunity to someday return nach Hause.

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