Interning in Rome for the U.S. Missions: a unique opportunity

Author: Costanza Montanari

The best way for students to be an active part of the city and use their linguistic and academic knowledge in a working environment is to do an internship, and what better place to start than one of the top three U.S. presences in Italy?

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As a matter of fact, four Notre Dame students studying abroad in Rome have had the opportunity to intern at the U.S. Embassy in Italy, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, and the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, and more are to come.

Emily McConville, a history and Italian studies student who completed her internship in the public affairs department of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See during summer 2016, said:

“Before the internship, I had little experience with both social media and foreign affairs. Over the course of nine weeks, I learned how embassies work, how large institutions communicate with the public, and the thought and hard work it takes to carry out a large project like an hour-long speech. I also, of course, improved my Italian and was able to stay in Rome for the summer. I am now considering applying to the foreign service later down the road.”

Students who interned at the U.S. Department of State experienced the opportunity to gain insight into U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy, explore new career avenues, and acquire lifelong skills in representing America to Italy.

Margaret Swinehart worked at the U.S. Embassy to Italy in Via Veneto during summer 2016:

“I found my internship at the U.S. Embassy to Italy very rewarding. I experienced international relations on a day-to-day basis, showing me how countries interact and the amount of people required to take in intelligence and maintain relations with one another. I feel like a better U.S. citizen after learning how embassies operate and seeing the complexities of building positive foreign policies. This internship fostered my interest in international relations and government work that I know will help me in my career after graduating from Notre Dame.”

The University of Notre Dame presence at the U.S. foreign policy offices is also strengthened by the fact that two of the U.S. chief representatives in Rome until January of 2017, the Ambassador to the Italy John Phillips and the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome Tom Duffy are successful Notre Dame alumni. The Ambassador to the Holy See Ken Hackett, received an honorary doctorate in 2007 and he was awarded the Laetare Medal in 2012 from the University of Notre Dame.

Kathryn Galioto a Rome International Scholar, political science major, and journalism and business minor currently spending the semester in Rome, is excited about spending this summer at the Public Affairs Department of the U.S. Mission to the UN Agency in Rome:

“I'll get to see the kind of role the U.S. plays in its interactions with international organizations like the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization. I'm a political science major, so I'm excited to get some hands-on experience in areas dealing with food security and humanitarian assistance. Like most public affairs jobs, every day on the job will likely be a little different for me, so I'm looking forward to learning a lot.”

Emily strongly recommends this experience, adding, “I was able to be a small part of the United States' foreign relations, and it gave me an invaluable understanding of how the U.S. promotes its interests abroad. Even if I don't become a diplomat, I am a more informed citizen. If anyone is interested, I would recommend applying early and, if accepted, turning in the security clearance materials early. Rome is a great place to work in foreign relations!”

Internships are available for summer, fall and spring. Apply directly on the U.S. embassy’s website; applications close 6-10 months before the beginning of the term.

For further internship opportunities in Rome, please visit this page.