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Learning the Ins and Outs of DC with the Washington Mentorship Program This WMP alumna credits the program for helping her succeed as an intern at BBC.

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Washington Mentorship Program Orientation with students and parents
Students and parents gather at American University for a Washington Mentorship Program student orientation.

Between living alone for the first time and navigating the unfamiliarity of college-level study, it’s not often that freshmen have the support or resources to pair academics with an internship. However, for a select pool of freshmen like Milla, first-semester students are given the chance to do just that, by enrolling the Washington Mentorship program.

Milla always considered herself a diligent worker, but she credits much of her current success to the Mentorship Program. With cohorts in Washington, DC, and Bath, England, WMP acclimated her to the process of searching and applying for jobs, which has inspired her to make every semester in college count.

Unlike a typical first year student at American University, Milla's first semester began with a hands-on academic seminar coupled with an internship. Milla landed an internship at BBC, and, while there, she assisted the backstage team of Katty Kay’s Beyond 100 Days show, visited the Capitol Building and to the Department of State, and collected information at the National Archives for the show.

Fall 2017 Mentorship Program students gather at Kay Spiritual Life Center at American University for student orientation.

“My internship with the BBC brought me closer to political issues in America and immersed me in issues around the globe,” Milla said. “I loved it because I not only learned about the BBC itself but also about having a job in the workplace. There, I was surrounded by some of the most interesting people I have ever met. They took time to make sure I could benefit from my experience and that I was fully immersed in the role of a BBC journalist.”

Her internship with BBC bolstered the materials of her “Politics in the US” class, taught by Dr. Christian Maisch. Originally from Paris, France, Milla had never studied the US political system through a critical lens, and she emphasizes that her professors were always available to help her build her resumé, proofread her cover letters and emails, and offer support in navigating the newness of college life.

“We had the opportunity to interact with many guest speakers in our class from different fields. The parallel of having the internship, plus the class that goes with it, was a key element to getting a full experience,” Milla said.

Milla's Politics in the U.S. class at American University.

Milla was serious when she said she planned to have an internship every semester. She already has another internship completed at the Embassy of Ecuador.

“I was looking to perfect my Spanish-speaking skills. Interning there immersed me into Ecuadorian culture, but also gave me a closer look at how diplomatic issues are taken care of within an embassy,” Milla said.

Milla hopes to continue applying her new skills to jobs and internships in the future, and she owes much of her success to her first semester at AU.

“I feel that we have all not only acquired valuable knowledge as well as autonomy for our future careers thanks to our class, but that we also grew as people,” she said. “I am on an everlearning journey to which, thanks to the WMP, I have a very solid foundation.”

Learn More: Meet Julian Wilson, WMP Alum

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