2019 Student testimonials

Meet some of our 2019 interns

interns in dc 2019

Alison Chen

Bachelor of Arts (Global Studies) and Bachelor of Laws
Internship Placement: Senator James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma

"Spending my time working, studying and living in Washington DC was an incredible way of spending my summer break. Although challenging at times, the skills, friendships and experiences I have gained are things I will cherish forever.

My workday was varied and vast, ranging from attending congressional briefings about US international relations, to shadowing meetings with stakeholders about language teaching in universities, to writing research briefs on pharmaceutical policy and trade. It was intellectually challenging and stimulating, and deepened my understanding of US politics and international relations in general. Moreover, it further enhanced my interpersonal skills and critical thinking, which are valuable skills in university and in the workforce.

Alison Chen

The classes and talks are UCDC further enriched my experiences in DC. Classes ranged from interviewing leading journalists, election strategists, former chiefs of staff and academics, to going to the White House press room and C-SPAN headquarters. On weekends there were plenty of opportunities to explore DC’s historical and cultural sites and travel to nearby cities such as New York with your new American and Australian friends.

The USSC made the process so easy by guiding us every step of the way – from organising visas, to selecting courses, to helping us settle back in Sydney upon our return, their assistance definitely reduced a lot of stress and allowed us to enjoy our experience to the fullest. I can’t recommend this challenging and fulfilling program highly enough - if I could do it again, I would!"

Cheran Ketheesuran

Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) and Bachelor of Laws
Internship Placement: Congressman Paul Cook, California 8th district

"At the start of each student’s university journey, they are told to “make the most of your undergraduate experience”. The two months I spent in the epicenter of global politics were the best of my degree thus far. It is the fusion of professional and personal development which makes the Washington D.C. Placement Program a highly valuable component of any student’s employment portfolio.

Interning in the office of Congressman Paul Cook in the midst of a heated government shutdown was captivating, challenging and rewarding. I would begin my day by answering and responding to constituent calls, emails and letters. Within a fortnight, I knew (almost) every detail of the U.S. Capitol’s history, providing lunchtime tours to constituents, school groups and even the President of Catalonia! Afternoons were spent assisting legislative directors in researching areas of policy pertaining to the Congressman’s assignments: in this case, Armed Services and Native Americans. Amongst the hustle of life as a congressional intern, there is a wide scope of freedom in attending briefings, luncheons and receptions across the Hill and D.C. Free food aside, being metres away from Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan, Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell and Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, was both intellectually stimulating and surreal.


The academic rigour of my placement was supplemented by taking subjects as varied as ‘Money, Message, Media’, taught by a Senior Executive Producer at C-SPAN (also known as The Most Patient Man on Television) and ‘The American Presidency and Executive Power’ from a former Elections Specialist at the National Education Association. Combined with weekly Monday Night Forums featuring Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and President of the Center for International Policy, Salih Booker, this program truly reflects its location as the fulcrum of global academic thought.

Luckily, my time in D.C. was not all work and no play. College basketball and NBA games were a huge hit, as were the numerous Smithsonian museums and impromptu snowball fights in D.C. Whether it be seeing Wicked and savouring Joe’s Pizza in New York, devouring cheesesteaks in Philadelphia or standing inside the Saturn V Rocket at the Houston Space Centre, it was the times spent travelling with friends, both Australian and American that I will remember the most. It is perhaps this component that truly defines the Washington D.C. Placement program: the opportunity to live and work with Americans, taking home a gamut of experiences, knowledge and friends whom will remain invaluable throughout your life. Nearly any student can benefit from this program, and whilst parting with a summer at the beach was a kicker, these two months were ultimately, life-changing."

Phillip Xie

Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) and Bachelor of Laws
Internship Placement: The Aluminum Association, Public Affairs Intern

"Interning at Washington DC was truly a memorable and dynamic experience. Interning at a trade association offered me insights into both the dynamics of company movements and competition within industry, as well as how Association influencers engage in the political dialogue. Some of the activities involved my engagement in committee meetings with companies like Rio Tinto negotiating industry movements and meetings with policymakers from Congress discussing tariffs and China's distortion of the global market. One memorable experience involved going to Fox and watching an associate do a live segment on TV. Each day offered new opportunities to learn how business, politics and law intertwine in a real-world context.

Phillip Xie

Even outside my internship, there was so much to experience. UCDC provided classes that were thoroughly interesting and evening forums with key political figures. Evening chats with fellow students broadened my understanding of the world and I made unforgettable friendships and memories, many of which continue today. Furthermore, being 4 hours from New York meant that I got to go there twice. I also went to a live NBA game.

The incredible support from the USSC guided us at every step, allowing us to focus on our experience in DC. This program truly facilitated incredible growth both personally and professionally, and I can not recommend it enough to prospective applicants."