Alex Duffy – Summer Internship with the Department of State at the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

This summer, as part of the State Department student intern program, I am worked as an intern at the U.S. Embassy Jakarta in Jakarta, Indonesia. I worked in the Public Affairs Section in the Information Office (IO). I was on the print media team, but I also worked closely with the broadcast media team. I also had the chance to work with the Cultural Office, which makes up the other half of the Public Affairs Section. Within IO, both these teams serve many roles, but they ultimately work to engage with the media and promote the messaging and strategic priorities of the Embassy to the public. The Embassy is located in Central Jakarta just across from Merdeka Square, home to Indonesia’s national monument, Monas. My internship lasted for ten weeks and taught me more than I could have imagined. Fortunately, my experience this summer reinforced my love for travel, and immediately following the end of my internship, I departed for a semester abroad in Colombia.

My position included a variety of responsibilities but some key tasks and projects I worked on included editing the Daily Press Summary—an edited compilation of news articles and stories from both Indonesian and foreign news sources relating to relations between the U.S. and Indonesia; staffing press events—highlights include supporting and managing the traveling Pentagon press during Acting Secretary of Defense (at the time) Patrick Shanahan’s visit to Jakarta, assisting the Cultural Office in managing a formal reception during the visit of Assistant Secretary for Education and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, supporting Public Affairs staff to manage press at a U.S.-Indonesia culinary collaboration dinner event, and delivering remarks at a Youth Exchange and Study welcome dinner for recently arrived American high school students spending a year in Indonesia; I also drafted a cable report on the Mission’s comprehensive outreach efforts during the month of Ramadan and have written and edited content for the Digital Platform, which is a site that showcases the U.S.-Indonesia bilateral relationship in honor of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

I always had an interest in pursuing a career in the public sector, as well as a desire to travel as part of my future career. I applied for this internship to not only to better understand work in the U.S. government in general, but more specifically to gain insight into the life of a Foreign Service Officer.

This internship has given me immense insight into work in the public sector and will help guide the interests I pursue throughout the remainder of my college career and beyond. I have gained confidence in my abilities across a variety of disciplines and think that this experience will motivate me to be an even greater leader both on and off campus. Ultimately, this internship experience reinforced the importance of dedication and determination in pursuing goals, whether they be personal or organizational. I also saw how important strong communication is to creating change. Effective communication is the only way to bring diverse groups together in pursuit of a single solution. I also learned that being able to lead a good meeting is a skill that may seem mundane but is one of the best skills to have in the workplace regardless of the field. Lastly, I learned that flexibility and adaptability are essential in intercultural and international lines of work, and they translate into stronger leadership.

Thanks to the grant funding provided by Newcomb-Tulane College, I was able to pay for my travel to Indonesia, which relieved a significant financial burden and helped make this entire experience possible. This internship was incredibly transformative, and I look forward to applying all I have learned this summer in my future endeavors.

Written by Alexandra Duffy, Sisselman Grant recipient, 2018-2019