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With aspirations of becoming a foreign service officer, Matthew Snow, a junior studying political science at Arizona State University, thought it paramount to get experience and knowledge of different countries and cultures.
With the assistance of the SPGS Travel Grant offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies, Snow traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, as part of the State Department’s spring 2020 internship program.
“This internship put me in a position where I got to play the part of (foreign service officer) abroad and to really try on the career for three months.”
During his internship in the executive office at the consulate general, Snow had the opportunity to work in the political and public affairs sections of the consulate.
“With the political section, I researched and reported on topics like the effects that Germany’s transition to battery-powered electric vehicles will have on the German auto industry,” Snow said.
“While working with the public affairs section, I was a part of school outreach programs where we went and spoke with German high school seniors about different American cultural topics,” he continued.
Snow shared some of his experiences from his internship with ASU Now:
Question: What were some of your takeaways from this experience?
Answer: Working as a foreign service officer in the political and public affairs sections of the consulate gave me the real-world experience to help me narrow down my aspirational career path in the foreign service. My time in Frankfurt has led me to choose the public affairs career path over the political.
I also took away how important our foreign postings are in the day-to-day relationship maintenance with our global partners. We were constantly getting ready for meetings between consulate personnel and officials in the public or private sectors in Germany.
Q: How do you think this trip will help you attain your career aspirations?
A: My time in Frankfurt allowed me to fit into the everyday routine of working in a foreign diplomatic post and try on my choice career path. Having that firsthand knowledge will do wonders towards helping me prepare for the foreign service officer test, specifically the job knowledge portion of the written exam and a portion of the oral assessment. This trip has also given me the experience of working in a foreign country that will hopefully give me a leg up when applying to entry-level positions in international affairs after graduation.
Q: What advice would you give those who are interested in a similar experience?
A: As cliché as it may seem, I would recommend applying to an internship abroad. The application process can be a bit daunting because you are required to get a security clearance. However, being able to become a contributing member and step into the shoes of the career path I aspire to has been invaluable. Even if you don’t want to become an (foreign service officer), working at a consulate or embassy abroad can give you a wide spectrum of experience that you can draw from in almost any circumstance.