International Affairs within the US Government

While the search for international affairs jobs in the U.S. government often starts with the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense, it doesn’t necessarily have to end there.  In 2013, the Robertson Foundation for Government, GovLoop, and the Association of Professional Schools in International Affairs (APSIA), published “Making an Impact_Guide to International Jobs in Government,” which provides details on the 50 federal agencies and offices that have international components.  If you are interested in working in the international arena for the US government, it behooves you to take a look.

Aaron Eisenbarth – European University at St. Petersburg

Aaron Eisenbarth and the Russian cruiser Aurora

Aaron in St. Petersburg in front of the Russian ship Aurora. Photo: Aaron Eisenbarth

Aaron Eisenbarth is a graduate student in international relations and public administration.  In spring 2014, he is completing his studies in Syracuse.

For the fall semester of my second year, I chose to study Energy Politics abroad at the European University in St. Petersburg, Russia. The program is fairly new, but the overall experience was quite good. Professors were capable and the school brought in high-level politicians and representatives of large energy companies on a regular basis to complement the curriculum. My cohort of fifteen showed a strong interest in the subject and in terms of background and work experience was more diversified than the public-sector orientation of Maxwell. This made for rich conversations that included more private sector voices than per usual at Maxwell.

I walked away with a large amount of new knowledge and a number of skills. For instance, a general understanding of European-Russian relations, the basics of Russia Foreign Policy and some basic energy research skills that will help my career. The program provided a surprisingly robust Russian learning program as well. I spoke Russian at an intermediate-high/advanced-low level before starting the program and they provided six hours of group tutoring a week. Speaking Russian is not a requirement of the program and will not be a barrier to having a good experience at the university.

Life in St. Petersburg was pretty good and affordable if you shop around for an apartment or choose to commute into the city center. The university does a good job of providing students with information regarding possible living arrangements as well as help in other aspects of St. Petersburg life. It is a beautiful city with plenty of obvious and non-obvious activities in which to partake. Navigating the city as a foreigner can be taxing at times, but there are helpful, English-speaking locals to help you should you need it. If you are unaccustomed to the darkness that a St. Petersburg winter solstice brings with it be sure to bring some vitamin D.  Safety was never an issue for me, but it is a concern just like any other metropolitan area.

I recommend the program if you have an interest Eurasian energy issues or even energy in general as it provides necessary foundation for studying outside of Eurasia. The university also provides a Russian and Eurasian Studies program (IMARES) and an Arts and Culture program (MARCA)

Diplomacy and Development Organization

As parts of the United States government, the Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have complicated organizational systems. Given the interlocking tasks and multiple hierarchical layers, it is important for those interested in working in the system to have a working knowledge of these organization structures as they consider their potential career path. Thus, we’ve prepared a quick guide to all of the major offices in both organizations for your use. Continue reading

Keys to Finding Internships

Remember that it is a marathon and not a sprint

Starting your search
Source: flickr.com

As many of you started looking for internships over the winter holidays, I thought that would like some more detailed advice on how to approach the internship search.  Since internships are increasingly seen as entrance points into the job market, this advice is also applicable to the professional market.  Continue reading

Alex W. – The Public Affairs Sector in Washington

Where's the TPS reports?

The inside of a typical office building in Washington – Souce: Voice of America

This fall, I interned at a public affairs consulting firm. Thanks to this experience I learned a tremendous amount about the professional expectations of Washington DC and the political culture of our nation’s capital. Continue reading

Veronique Lee – A Summer in Kampala

Kampala's Taxi Park

Kampala’s Main Taxi Park
Source: V. Lee

Over the course of this summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Kampala to intern with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Uganda.  My internship placed me within the Office of Economic Growth, where I served as the climate change intern. The experience provided invaluable insight into the field of international development from the perspective of U.S. Government and other bilateral and multilateral donors. Continue reading

Matt Podolak – Envision Consulting, Amman, Jordan

See, it snows everywhere, not just here

Amman in the Snow
Photo: Matt Podolak

My internship for Envision Consulting was arranged by Amideast, the academic program that I was participating in during my fall semester in Jordan. The internship was actually part of a course being offered, but I opted not to receive credit for the course, and instead volunteered my time at the consultancy in order to remain busy during the semester. Continue reading

Rules for Washington

A Different Kind of Rules for Washington

Residence Act of 1790. Source: Library of Congress

Many of you will seek employment within the federal government structure within Washington, DC.  In an effort to prepare you for your work in that environment (or any similar political nerve center), I would like to share several Rules for Washington, written by Dr. Andrew Exum, formerly of the Center for New American Security.*

Continue reading