Anjoly Ibrahim, Recruitment and Outreach Officer, United States State Department
I will never forget my MUN and Student Congress years in high school; those are some of my fondest memories. They taught me how to be a leader and negotiate; how to see an issue from a different point of view and how to argue for a policy that I did not support personally but was good for my country. My time in MUN and Congress instilled in me a passion for public service and an interest in international relations. Naturally, I eagerly researched the Department of State as a possible career path; and my dream was realized when I was offered a permanent position at the State Department. After a year and a half assignment working on human rights at the Human Rights Council and on religious freedom issues in the Western Hemisphere, I decided that my calling was to assist others in also realizing their dreams. I am now a recruitment and outreach officer for the Department of State.
As many of you may know, we have a variety of opportunities at the State Department, both in the Civil Service and the Foreign Service, as well as Internships and Fellowships. Civil Service and Foreign Service officers work on very similar issues; Foreign Service Officers spend the majority of their career overseas, while Civil Service Officers spend their careers in the U.S. Civil Service officers work on a wide range of topics and are based either in Washington, D.C., at the United Nations in New York, or at one of our various Diplomatic Security or Passport Offices around the country.
Foreign Service Officers make up the diplomatic corps of the United States, staffing embassies and consulates abroad in 270missions around the world. They move every 1-3 years to a different country, perform a variety of functions, and learn different languages for their assignments. Entrance into the Foreign Service is through a testing process or via an on-line application for specialist positions.
Entrance into the Civil Service is through application on USAJobs or through the Recent Graduate Program or the Presidential Management Fellowship program. Both programs are for students who have graduated within two years of applying. Student programs for the State Department include both unpaid and paid internships offered throughout the year. Our 10-week unpaid internships are offered in the fall, spring, or summer semesters in Washington, D.C. (and a few State offices elsewhere across the United States) or abroad at an embassy or consulate. Limited paid internship programs are also available through the federal government-wide Pathways Program, which include paid internships for a specified period of time up to one year (ITEP) and paid internships until the student graduates from their academic program (IEP). Both paid internship programs may lead to conversion into the civil service.
The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program offers two distinct opportunities. For undergraduate students, the Rangel Program offers a six-week summer program at Howard University where they attend classes and participate in a variety of programs with foreign affairs professionals. The aim of the program is to provide students with a deeper appreciation of current issues and trends in international affairs, a greater understanding of career opportunities in international affairs, and the enhanced knowledge and skills to pursue such careers. For graduate students, the Graduate Fellowship Program offers students a fellowship to pay for graduate studies for two years and two internships one on Capitol Hill and one at a an Embassy during the summers between their graduate studies. In return, upon graduating from their program, participants will be appointed to the Foreign Service for a minimum of three years. Students must apply in January or February prior to the fall semester in which they will be entering graduate school and must be attending a two-year graduate program.
The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship provides two programs to help with the costs incurred by students pursuing a graduate degree. The Foreign Affairs Fellowship provides financial support during the student’s senior (fourth) year of college and first year of graduate school and two internships one domestically at the Department of State and one at an embassy abroad. In return, upon graduating from their program, participants will be appointed to the Foreign Service for a minimum of three years. Students must apply in the January or February of their junior (third) year of college. The Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship provides financial support during a two year graduate program and two internships one domestically at the Department of State and one at an embassy abroad. In return, upon graduating from their program, participants will be appointed to the Foreign Service for a minimum of three years. Students must apply in the January or February prior to the fall semester in which they will be entering graduate school and must be attending a two-year graduate program.
All information about careers and student programs can be found on our website. On this site, you can also find information about informational events that will be held in your local area and contact information for the local Diplomat in Residence who covers your region. I also invite you to download the free DOSCareers Mobile App in the Apple and Google stores.
Other programs that focus on international careers and educational opportunities that may be of interest to you include:
- The Virtual Student Foreign Service (7-month internships done virtually)
- Fulbright Fellowships
- Boren Scholarship and Fellowship
- Various Exchanges for High School, Undergraduate and Graduate student and Recent Graduates
- The Gilman Scholarship (for Pell Grant Recipients)
- United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service
- United States Agency for International Development
- American Foreign Affairs Association High School Essay Contest
- Also a variety of organizations offer internships at the Department of State including the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, Washington Internships for Native Students, and Workforce Recruitment Program