In their free time, Abroad at AU students may apply for and participate in unpaid, non-credit internships at businesses, NGOs, government agencies and multilateral institutions in the Washington, DC area. However, the scope of the Abroad at AU program is primarily academic, and internships are not a main component of the program. Interested students are responsible for finding and obtaining their own internships. Admitted students create an online student portal that allows them to utilize American University's award winning Career Center for help with internship searches, resume and cover letter writing, and other career guides. Because internships in Washington, DC can be competitive it is recommended students begin the process of creating a resume and working with the Career Center before they arrive in country, especially if the student will only study at AU for one semester.
During her semester at American University, Sian interned at Human Rights First on Capitol Hill. Interning at this non-government organization she was able to give practical effect to her legal studies by working on domestic human rights legislation and interviewing refugees and asylum seekers for placement with pro bono legal representation. Interning within an active policy advocacy organization also directly exposed her to the structure, processes and functions of American government. Sian's time at Human Rights First gave her first hand experience with American approaches to international problems and greatly enriched her exchange experience both professionally and personally.
See Sian's blog posts about her internship on American University's Career Center Web site.
Carl participated in two separate internships, first at the Center for Asian Studies at AU in the fall semester and then at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation in the spring. The Foundation is a think-tank focused on relationships between the United States and Asian countries. Through his internship Carl had the opportunity to meet policy makers, hill staffers and cooperation leaders who have expertise in the US and Asia, such as the former US ambassador to Japan. Over the course of five months Carl assisted in more than seven different programs ranging from US-Japan fellowship, policy dialogues, and Web-publications, to roundtable discussion. He also assisted in the Foundation's Web site renovation.
See Carl's blog posts about his internship on American University's Career Center Web site.
Walter interned at the Organization of American States in the Office of the Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin. He was responsible for keeping everyone in the department updated on current news related to reconstruction efforts in Haiti and other key issues. He also prepared documentation about the current economic and political conditions of member states. Walter interned four times a week along side his full course load. Reflecting on his internship he said that "it was not easy at all, but in those moments when I felt like giving up I just thought of how lucky I am to be here and how all that I'm doing right now will have an impact on my professional and personal development. All the people I met, the events that I attended and all I learned about this organization and its work is a valuable gift that I'm very grateful for."
During the academic year, Qiong interned for the Chinese Service TV team at Voice of America, a multimedia international broadcasting, service funded by the U.S. Government. Her internship gave her a wide range of practical experiences that will help her pursue a future career in broadcasting including translating, writing, video editing and field shooting. Qiong's biggest projects included narrating the Mandarin version of Cultural Odyssey, a TV program about American culture for a Chinese Audience, and editing the VOA's news podcast Daily Download. The highlight of her internship was being involved in the live radio broadcast of the 2008 presidential election and working on the National Mall during President Obama's inauguration.