Student testimonials

Meet some of our 2018 student interns

Interns in DC

Salina Alvaro

Bachelor of Arts, majoring in American Studies and Government & International Relations
Internship Placement: Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina

"Travelling to Washington DC this year was the best way I could have spent my summer break. Interning on the Hill during the day, completing classes run by the University of California in the evenings, and living with students from universities across the US was a dream.

Salina Alvaro

The range of people you will meet is remarkable. I spent a weekend in Massachusetts with a fellow UCDC student from the University of Pennsylvania. Class activities included opportunities to pose questions to presidential campaign strategists and attend intimate panel discussions with current and former White House press secretaries. My internship involved shaking hands with US senators and shadowing meetings with everyone from foreign ministers to lobbyists and activists.

The support you receive at every stage from the USSC is unparalleled, from preparing your application through to your return to Sydney from DC. If I could complete this program every year, I would!"

Aparna Balakumar

Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communication), Majoring in Cultural Studies
Internship Placement: Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD), Public Affairs and Media Branch

"The United States Studies Centre providing me with the opportunity to complete a placement at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) within their Public Affairs and Media Brach in Washington DC, is something I shall be eternally grateful for. Being deeply fascinated by the intersection of media and communications and international affairs, my time in the political hub of DC was transformative in helping me witness how these areas can crossover to influence and shape public policy.

Between taking subjects as expansive as 'Race and Ethnic Politics in a Post-Obama Presidency' (from a Vice President of Policy Analysis and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation!) and Money, Message, Media (by a Senior C-SPAN Producer who kept casually dropping in anecdotes about his interviews with past presidents!), there was never a dull moment at the University of California DC Centre (UCDC). By day, I adored the chance to assist an international organisation like the OECD manage different stakeholders, reach out to policy-makers, and gains media attention. Then by night I got to explore DC with new American friends, receiving insight into their political landscape from a local perspective too.

Through work and class, I attended various think-tank briefings on Capitol Hill, wrote detailed summary reports of press events, reviewed the news of the day to send back to our partners at the OECD in Paris, helped launch our publications, compiled briefing notes for when we hosted foreign delegates, and created newsletters to update our followers on developments at the Centre. I even got to strategise and design an entire OECD-led campaign for the G7 Summit in Canada, which was later executed across all their social channels. Another highlight was attending a White House Correspondents Event where Sarah Huckabee Sanders, President Trump's Press Secretary, was in conversation with Mike McCurry, who was President Clinton's Press Secretary during his tenure in office. It was also amazing to be in the Senate room as the federal government officially 'shut down', watching as the senators paced across the floor trying to strike a deal before the clock struck midnight. I also pinched myself when protesting in the Women's March right on the National Mall, knowing our chants were literally ringing through the White House corridors!

The entire placement was such a wonderful way to put the skills I learnt in my Media and Communications degree from the University of Sydney into practice in the epicentre of politics that is DC. This level of access would not have been possible without the Washington DC Placement Program letting us be a stones throw away from all of the action. The USSC made the process so easy, which meant we could really hit the ground running from Day One and easily settle into life abroad. I could not recommend a better way to spend your summer break if you are ready for a full-on but worthwhile time."

William Bosler

Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Business Analytics and Econometrics
Internship Placement: Congressman Mike Bost, Southern Illinois

"Being able to Intern and study in Washington DC was an incredible opportunity. I was able to gain valuable technical and interpersonal skills as well as form close friendships with students from across America and Australia.

William Bosler

During the workday you could go from preparing a memo on a congressional hearing you attended, to providing legislative research assistance and securing cosponsor signatures. At night you can join fellow students from Berkeley and UCLA in having conversations with key political figures. Whilst on the weekend you’re only a short bus trip from New York or an Uber ride to watch an NHL game.

It’s a challenging few months that are sure to leave you with a lifetime of memories. Moreover, employers in Australia significantly value the experience placing you in a strong position to secure further internships back home."

Antonia Flowers

Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences, majoring in Economics & Political Economy
Internship Placement: The Asia Foundation

"Interning in Washington D.C. was an unforgettable experience. It gives you a great insight into the career opportunities that await your graduation, and equips you with first-hand experience of living and working in one of the most stimulating and inspiring cities in the world.

Antonia Flowers

You have the opportunity of attending many events in Washington D.C. that are unique to the city. During my internship, some of the events I was sent to included a conference held at the World Bank Headquarters, an Asian Development Bank roundtable meeting and various Senate Committee Hearings.

UCDC is a great place to make connections and friendships with students from across the country. You’re also right in the centre of it all, surrounded by plenty to do. I couldn’t recommend this program enough!"

Timothy Grey

Bachelor of Economics, majoring in Economics
Internship Placement: International Economic Development Council (IEDC)

"Though trading a Sydney summer for a sub-zero Washington winter was tough, participating in the USSC’s DC Placement Program has undoubtedly been the highlight of my undergraduate experience.

The opportunities you are provided with to learn are unparalleled, both in and out of the classroom. By studying in another country you will see your field of interest with fresh eyes, and it is hard to imagine a more valuable professional challenge than working in a different culture. Beyond work and study, the program offers an immersive social and cultural experience. Far from a stereotypical government town, DC is a vibrant and exciting city with so much to explore. There is nowhere else in the world with the same density of smart, driven people and ideas, at least when it comes to politics. It felt as though I made years of friendships and memories in just 9 weeks.

While living abroad can feel daunting, the amount of support offered by this program makes it feel almost easy! Every step of the way, the USSC makes the process feel seamless. Onsite at UCDC, the community was so welcoming to us Australians and any concerns about meeting people were completely allayed. I would recommend anyone interested in public policy, economics, or just US culture in general to apply to this program!"

Alex Zhao

Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and Bachelor of Laws
Internship Placement: U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC)

"I cannot think of a better way to spend the two months of summer break. The dynamic yet diverse social and political environment of Washington D.C. has so much to offer, and the Placement Program allowed me to make the most of it.

Interning at the Chamber, I gained valuable work experience that complements the knowledge I had from studying at university. Since day-one, I was encouraged to get involved and take all opportunities around me – whether that was shadowing meetings and roundtables or hearing the stories of innovators and entrepreneurs around the world. Every day, I saw the interaction of business, law, and political science in real-life practice.

Outside the office, the Placement Program also offers lots of opportunities to learn. In the UCDC evening classes, we discussed current affairs with University of California professors and students. The UCDC Monday Night Forum was also very informative and fun: hearing from various guest speakers while enjoying free food with my roommates was one of my best memories."