A core component of the study of political science is diplomacy, how different nations bargain their interests and ideals to work toward a state of peaceful global relations. Landing a political science internship abroad is your opportunity to gain valuable work experience in international relations, while witnessing first hand how different governments operate with and against each other in the global arena. What better way to expand your political science education? Get your first taste of real-life politics by completing a political science internship abroad!
Why Intern Abroad in Political Science
Odds are that if you are considering political science internships, then you might already take a significant interest in international relations. There is no better way to learn about how the world works than to travel and see it for yourself. The benefits of interning abroad go far beyond the job experience and star on your resume which internships will bring – your perspective on politics and international affairs will forever be changed, as will your greater perspective of who you are and what you want to be.
Politics varies heavily around the world, as will the type of political science internship placements you will find from place to place. For instance in Europe there are a large variety of internationally influential political, economic, and grassroots organizations, especially in countries such as Switzerland, England, and the Netherlands. The same can be said of North American cities such as New York, Toronto, and Washington D.C. If you are interested in high level international relations and politics, then these two continents would be great places to start looking for political science internships abroad.
It might also be interesting to look to the developing world for political science internships. Governments tend to take on a very different form in societies with low economic development, and often political relations are plagued by corruption, human rights abuses, and lack of resources in these places. If you are interested in a rewarding international internship involving activism and hands-on research, then it can be a very educational experience traveling to a poorer country which lacks relative power in the realm of international politics.
The type of political science internships you may be able to land in any given country will also depend on the quality of its relations with your home country. If you are on mutually good terms, say as with the U.S. and UK, then you may even be able to cross over and land an internship shadowing Congress or Parliament. If the relationship is more rocky, you might be limited to interning with the foreign service or with a private international organization.
Political Science Internships
Government work can take a large variety of forms, from on-the-ground grassroots campaigning to behind-the-desk planning and paperwork. As a political intern abroad you will be able to choose from a dearth of placements which suit your interests, and will also likely be held responsible for a number of individual tasks while on the job.
Most political internships abroad work with local governments or city councils, either directly or cooperatively through an independent organization. Examples of the type of work you might engage in as an intern in politics include preparing documents and presentations, attending meetings and debates, and conducting independent research in a variety of fields. Climbing the government bureaucracy can be a long and arduous process, and as an intern you are often beginning from the bottom. Just remember that this is your chance to gain first-hand exposure to government work, and also to prove yourself as a dedicated and passionate worker!
Internships abroad in political science are available throughout the year and typically last anywhere from two to six months. Summer is the most popular time for students to seek out an international internship, between school years, and political science internships abroad can certainly give you a leg up before graduation. Recent graduates can opt instead to intern in the fall or spring, and who knows, maybe it will even lead straight to a job offer abroad!
Benefits & Challenges
Completing political science internships abroad will be a fantastically educational experience, that will expand your knowledge of global politics and cross cultural communications. Our world is working toward a more peaceful order than ever before seen in history, and the bare plausibility of obtaining a political science internship abroad is a testament to that. Governments are perpetually adapting and finding new ways of working with each other to advance relations, and if you are interested in joining the next wave of politics, then there is no better way to get started than by interning abroad in politics.