2020 Student testimonials

Meet some of our 2020 Interns

Pavel Grozdov

Bachelor of Economics
Internship Placement: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

"Living in the United States and working at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Washington Centre was truly an enormous privilege and a dream come true. My time in Washington D.C., a major global epicentre of political power and influence, was without a doubt transformative and rewarding, as it allowed me to experience the changing landscape of international relations and globalisation first-hand.

I was able to develop my skill sets to advance my career through the formal learning offered both in class and the internship. The program was structured in a way that provided practical experience, witnessing the workings of the US government. Through work and class, I attended and reported on various briefings on Capitol Hill, wrote detailed summary reports of press events, assembled Washington briefings for the OECD Secretary-General in Paris, assisted in producing publications and newsletters, and even conducted a major brand and communications audit to assist OECD in their strategic engagement with its global audiences in the United States and Canada. It was also amazing to be coordinating confidential meetings at the Centre, where I met foreign leaders from all over the world and watched them shape the future of our global economy. Another highlight was meeting OECD's Chief Economist, Laurence Boone, who featured at a major event which I was fortunate to be part of.

The range of fantastic opportunities you are exposed to are riveting and awe-inspiring. I definitely felt like I was at the global centre of action – witnessing Donald Trump (in the flesh) and Pete Buttigieg, as they mobilised crowds and battled for the presidency of the United States of America, and even hearing from Catherine Mann, Citibank’s Global Chief Economist and exchanging ideas with Fred Hochberg, the Ex-President of the Export–Import Bank of the United States. I even had my moment of fame, starring on National TV, being interviewed by a fellow UCDC student interning at the Voice of America. There was never a shortage of life-changing encounters and experiences on offer!

This level of exposure would not have been possible without USSC’s unconditional and endless support. From assisting in locating and tailoring an internship that was best-suited to my personal and professional goals, to assisting in the visa process and course selection, USSC allowed me to make the most of this remarkable opportunity, for which I am undeniably grateful.

This program will give you the opportunity to try something new and push you outside your comfort zone, both in and out of the classroom – and that’s where the magic truly begins. You will be surrounded by dynamic people and brilliant minds, who will inspire you, encourage your ideas, and support your ambitions. These people, along with the experiences you will have, make the Washington D.C. Placement Program a life-changing opportunity. I highly recommend it to anyone thinking of applying and I promise you won't regret it!"

Emily Liao

Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) and Bachelor of Laws
Internship Placement: Congressman Mike Bost, Illinois 12th District

"Living, learning and working overseas is an experience that every student should have in their portfolio. The Washington D.C. Placement Program is such a unique opportunity to meet people from around the world, undertake interesting academic units about American politics and culture and gain experience working in a professional environment like no other.

Emily Liao

My workday was extremely varied. Every week there was a new major event to focus on, whether that be the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the assassination of Iranian general Soleimani, the signing of the US-China phase one deal or the signing of the USMCA agreement. I spent my days in the office responding to constituent calls and letters, drafting legislative memos for bills being debated on the floor that week, attending relevant congressional hearings, shadowing my congressman around capitol hill and during meetings, collating daily news clips, researching interesting policy areas and even presenting a bill and recommendation of my choice to the entire office at the end of my internship. The Hill is full of amazing and diverse people, you will often see faces that you recognise from TV as you’re walking around. I remember one of the peaks of my internship was when Chris Evans (THE Captain America) was on the hill. When I wasn’t in the office, you could catch me just across the road watching an oral presentation at the United States Supreme Court. As a law student, I was able to fulfil my dreams of seeing my idol, the notorious Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

But apart from the professional and academic experiences, I encourage students to take advantage of being in a new country and go explore Washington D.C. and its surrounding cities. As the mantra goes – work hard but play even harder. Some of the most memorable times were spent exploring new places with new people. We immersed ourselves into American culture - going to basketball games, art museums, tourist attractions, famous American eateries, eating bagels and taking photos on the iconic steps of the MET during our road trips to New York and Philadelphia. An absolute must-try is the everything bagel in NYC: three words. To. Die. For.

Ultimately, this is an incredibly unique opportunity that every student should take advantage of. It has been one of the most memorable experiences in my life to date, and I’d choose to do it all over again in a heartbeat."

Timothy Fong

Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Economics)
Internship Placement: Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina

"Interning on Capitol Hill has unequivocally been the highlight of my undergraduate experience at the University of Sydney. From spectating Trump’s historic impeachment trial to assuaging constituents after Iran’s missile strike, this placement was an incredibly rewarding experience that offered me new insights into American politics and political discourse. During my placement, I assisted in drafting policy memoranda and voting recommendations on 5G technology, helped organise the Senator’s Fourth Annual HBCU Fly-In Event, led Capitol tours for South Carolinians, and prepared reports on issues such as college affordability and CRISPR technology.

Timothy Fong

Beyond the internship, D.C. is a vibrant cultural hub with plenty of places to explore. Whether you go cheer on the Washington Capitals at a NHL game, visit the Smithsonian museums along the National Mall, or dine in at Ben’s Chili Bowl after work, there are no shortage of things to do in D.C. On the long weekend, New York is only a short bus ride away. Watching Hamilton live on Broadway, enjoying the view at the top of the Empire State Building, and strolling along The High Line with a NYC bagel and coffee in hand were just some of the highlights of my trip.

Participating in this program has broadened my horizons and opened new doors to policy internships in Sydney and Canberra. Immersing myself in the culture, talking with constituents every day, and discussing current affairs with seasoned policy advisors has taught me more about American politics than any class or textbook. Those two months spent exploring Washington D.C. have created some unforgettable memories, and I am extremely thankful to the USSC for this incredible opportunity to intern at Senator Tim Scott’s office. The experience of living, studying, and working abroad is something that I encourage every student to consider – I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in American politics and policy.”