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Foreign service experience through virtual internship with U.S. Consulate

Headshot of Aidan Swayne

June 26, 2024

Aidan Swayne participated in the Virtual Student Federal Service with the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver for the 2023-24 academic year. 

My internship with the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver was a rare opportunity I will look back on fondly for years to come. Not only did I receive meaningful research, writing, presentation, and work-place skills that will push forward my career goals, but it was also a chance to dive into a professional world that has long interested me. Over the last nine months, I have been able to participate in a variety of projects that have directly impacted the work of the Consulate and, hopefully, the future of our Pacific Northwest Region. This included research on U.S.-Canada Bilateral Strategy and the Arctic, cross-border Indigenous business models, FIFA 2026 and its impact in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., electricity in The Yukon, energy imports in B.C., salmon restoration, and many others. My favorite among them being my work on FIFA and its impact on regional tourism, transportation, infrastructure, and cross-border strategy.

Throughout these projects I was able to work alongside senior Consulate staff to bring together materials that I was proud of. On one occasion, I was also able to attend, alongside the Consul General himself, meetings with local businesses in the Seattle area. These meetings were especially impactful and gave me the sense that this internship was a special opportunity- a glimpse into the world of Foreign Service that not many students receive. In the end, I found myself fortunate to be in that position.

Whether it was preparing papers, doing research, or attending workshops, I was continually challenged during my time with the Consulate and would recommend this opportunity—along with other VSFS internships—to students across major disciplines. I also would like to thank the Canadian Studies Center for coordinating this opportunity and hope they continue to promote this to student for as long as possible. Whilst often a disheartening and competitive experience, finding this internship to supplement my academics was an invaluable part of my program and propelled forward my interest in the Foreign Service whilst fostering new ones in diverse topics and fields.