Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

U.S. Department of State

Fall 2018

Position: Student Intern
Student: Government Junior                     

My internship this semester was in Washington, D.C, with the U.S State Department, Bureau of Legislative Affairs. The State Department is the oldest executive agency in the U.S, and is primarily focused on foreign affairs. The Bureau of Legislative Affairs if primarily focused on functioning as a liaison between the Secretary of State and members of Congress. As an intern, the typical day is 9-5, a full time job. Our business is almost entirely dependant on Congress. When they are in recess, we are rather bored on our end. When it’s lame-duck session after control in the House has shifted, we find ourselves rather busy. Most of the work we do is in the way of bill analysis/advising, researching bios and statements of members in congress and preparing witnesses for hearings as well as political appointees for confirmation hearings or meetings with senators. Most of the work we did involved listening in on hearings on the hill and reporting on them, looking for specific statements from members on topic areas so as to help the Secretary navigate the minefield of opinions held by the members of Congress. Often we’d have assignments sent to us out of the blue that require quick turnaround, while other times we’d find ourselves quizzing each other with Senate member flashcards. There’s always a hearing that could be gone to or tuned in to, or a foreign policy workshop that could be attended, so there’s plenty to do, but it’s not always urgent. Working in Legislative Affairs is interesting in that it has the same hierarchical structure of the executive branch, while working closely with and navigate the flat command structure of Congress.

Fall 2016  

Position: Department of State Intern
Student: History Senior

My internship placed me in the Consular Section of an American Embassy, one of four sections to be found at every embassy (the others being Political, Economic, and Public Affairs). The Consular Section is broken into four units: Non-Immigrant Visas (in charge of issuing visas for foreign nationals wishing to visit the United States), Immigrant Visas (in charge of issuing visas for foreign nationals seeking to emigrate to the United States) American Citizen Services (providing assistance to American citizens abroad) and my specific unit, Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU). FPU serves to seek-out, investigate, and anticipate instances of visa fraud.

Besides spending two hours a morning helping to process visa applicants by manning a window taking fingerprints, all of my work was located in FPU.  I work on two main long-term projects. I compare existing reports with new data concerning absconding migrant workers in order to uncover either visa fraud rings or American ranches who abuse the workers they petition to come from overseas to work for them. In addition, I am working on a study investigating patterns of abuse in Chinese nationals who apply through our post; I will compile my findings into a cable to be sent to all posts in the Western Hemisphere as well as American posts in China. In addition, I am writing another cable requesting the removal of a Peruvian citizen from a national terrorist watch list based on information recently made available to my post. In addition to these projects, I have a variety of tasks that amount to updating records and circulating the results of any one of FPU’s investigations. These responsibilities are parceled out into a normal nine-hour workday, with a full hour for lunch. However, most people choose to work from seven until four instead of the normal eight/nine to five so we can avoid the rush hour traffic.


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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508