Internship field report, Stephanie Gusching @ the U.S. Embassy, San Salvador

September 13, 2016

Stephanie Gusching (BA '18) submits this field report from her internship in San Salvador, El Salvador, where she worked at the U.S. Embassy through the U.S. Department of State Student Internship Program.

Q. Why did you choose to intern at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador?

As someone interested in foreign policy, human rights, and Spanish, I knew this internship would fit my curiosities perfectly. This experience also gave me a much-desired opportunity to live abroad for the first time and helped me determine if it is something I would want to do again in the future.

Q: What has this internship taught you, about the work and about yourself?

I learned much more than I could have ever expected this summer. As a result of my exposure to diverse Salvadoran policy issues such as economic development and rule of law, I have gained a more profound understanding of how American foreign policy is implemented abroad to simultaneously serve the interests of the United States and improve conditions in host countries. Perhaps more importantly, I gained greater clarity on my passions and about the career path I want to pursue in the future. Having the ability to witness firsthand life in the Foreign Service has helped me realize that I would be open to a career in that field.

Q: How did working abroad impact your overall internship experience?

Working abroad was definitely an asset to my experience. Gaining exposure to different cultural practices was not only interesting but also extremely relevant to my career interests in foreign policy. I have realized how essential it is to identify commonalities and understand differences between countries when creating strategic, mutually beneficial foreign policy.

Q: What impressed you most about your internship experience?

The strong working relationship between the U.S. government and the Salvadoran government was impressive. The Salvadoran responsiveness to U.S. initiatives in the country made working toward our mutual goals much more efficient. I was also impressed and inspired by how many strong, qualified women I met in high-level positions at post.

Q: What was the most memorable experience you had while interning? 

Attending events where I was able to see U.S. policy in action, such as the kick-off event for the U.S. government-promoted Police Soccer League, an initiative made in conjunction with the Salvadoran government, were the experiences I will remember the most from my internship. To see the progress that can be made when countries work together is motivating and reaffirms my belief that public policy is the right career path for me. 

Stephanie Gushing is a University of Michigan junior and a bachelor's in public policy candidate at the Ford School.