Kimberly Monarrez is a research intern at the United States Studies Centre.
What is your educational background?
I am a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelors of Arts from the International Area and Studies department. My study has particularly focused on international human rights and security. My interest in international relations sparked when I had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy after my first year as an undergrad. I became fascinated by different cultures, political systems, and how different countries are interconnected. Thus, I decided to pursue a major in international relations.
What have you been working on in your time here at the USSC?
I have been mainly focused on researching foreign investments, innovation, and trade in Southeast Asia. I believe some aspects — in particular, a project on US soft power — has complimented my specific area of study, while some topics are very new to me. For the majority of my undergraduate academic experience, I have focused more on international law, security, negotiation, and conflict resolution. So, researching innovation and economic policy has been completely new territory for me and I am excited to have been given the opportunity to branch out of my academic comfort zone. In the short time I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve been given a crash course on these fields and look forward to learning more.
What is it like living in Sydney?
I've really enjoyed my time in Sydney. Initially, the city reminded me a lot of San Francisco but I have come to realise the two cities are extremely different. There is so much Sydney has to offer outside of tourist experiences. In my first couple of weeks here I became a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out how to do as much as possible in such a short amount of time. Aussies have been extremely helpful and friendly in guiding me through the city and sharing their wisdom on what I should experience while in the country.
What do you hope to do with your experience from the USSC?
After this internship, I will begin the search for a job relevant to my educational background. I intend working fulltime for a couple of years to get a better understanding of my chosen area of expertise. I then expect to go back to school to pursue a masters’ degree. I am quite interested in the International Relations masters’ program at Columbia University. However, as of now, I am focusing on my current internship with the USSC. The USSC has already expanded my academic experience and I hope to learn more about the different fields I can pursue with my degree in international relations.