Public Affairs Intern, U.S. Mission to the EU by Allison Aaronson

by tuftsigl
Jun 19

I started my internship on May 27, I cannot believe I have been working here for almost four weeks!   The first two weeks were rather difficult because I felt like I didn’t have enough to do at my internship and was feeling purposeless.  At the same time, I was constantly confused because the State Department, the EU, and Brussels in general all speak in acronyms, so there was a rather steep learning curve.  Now that I’m more comfortable and have proved myself a bit, I have the opportunity to work on all sorts of exciting projects, and maybe even have a bit too much to do (but I like that). 

My supervisor and I have discussed my responsibilities, but these are not at all constant.  The only thing I can say I definitely do consistently is compile a summary of current events for the Ambassador and other mission staff.  Besides that, my job completely depends on the status of US/EU politics and the programs that are going on that week.  One of the great things about working in public diplomacy is it is fast paced and I rarely spend a day behind my desk.  Part of my job includes organizing high-level events, on Tuesday I was the lead on a climate breakfast hosted by the Ambassador, and last week I organized a briefing for Lithuanian members of Parliament.  Part of my job is organizing and hosting briefings for EU interns, the first of which was this past Wednesday (on multidimensional approaches to mass migration).  Nearly every day I attend some sort of event or European Parliament session to take pictures and tweet, and sometimes I write briefings for the Ambassador on events he will participate in.  I am also doing a 2 week blog series on the transatlantic trade relationship, which I am particularly excited about because I proposed the idea.

The mission is huge and full of fascinating people, so I guess my biggest goal is to sit down with as many foreign service officers as possible and try to learn as much as possible from them.  By the end of the summer, I plan to host 2 more interns briefings, run the trade blog series, analyze our social media followers, and hopefully participate in many more events.  It’s rather difficult to predict what the summer will bring as my role is so dependent on world affairs, it will change drastically if Greece decides to leave the Eurozone or Russia commits further attacks in Ukraine.  My supervisor is actually leaving while I am interning here, and there will be a gap before her replacement comes, so I am excited to assume some of her responsibilities during this window.  All in all I could not ask for a better experience, I am gaining so much exposure, meeting important people, taking initiative, and living in the capital of Europe!

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