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Interning at the UN Opens the Door to New Experiences for Diplomacy Student  

United Nations BuildingThis story was shared courtesy of the School of Diplomacy Internship blog

My name is Sade Nixon. I am an undergraduate senior from Chicago, Illinois completing my degrees in Diplomacy and Modern Languages. I am currently studying Russian and French, both of which I make extensive use of since starting my internship with the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN). I am currently interning with the Political Office of USUN, which handles US foreign policy as it pertains to Security Council activities.

The interconnectivity of my field is hitting me full force, and idea-mapping to trace ripple effects and possible overlap has been beneficial. Courses such as Institutions of Global Governance and International Law have already proven their practicality on day one. I am grateful to be confronted with things outside my comfort zone; the necessary question-asking has given me opportunities to build a rapport with my senior colleagues who have been supportive in exposing me to topics I have a specific academic interest in.

Like most things I have done to pursue my goals, working at the U.S. Mission constantly reaffirms my career aspirations. This has always been something I have wanted to take on. Now I get to have my expectations exceeded. I have my own projects and recently completed work on negotiations of several UN mandate renewals and resolution revisions. Other than that, my work is mainly research on geopolitical affairs and handling initiatives for Foreign Service Officers. These tasks have certainly sped up my processing time and forced me to work on balancing thoroughness with timeliness. It has also made my professional writing more uniform and streamlined.

My tasks are mainly informative and administrative (attending meetings, drafting documents for Washington, and research, mostly). I report to the Foreign Service Political Officers and to their deputies. My co-workers at my level are graduate students in international affairs programs, and my superiors are Foreign Service Officers and political advisors. The FSO I am partnered with directly specializes in African affairs.

I am full-time, so I am working from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The environment is naturally quite energetic by virtue of our scope, especially as we have now entered the 4th quarter of the year, and the FSOs are incredibly supportive in making sure the interns are working on our areas of interest. Though internships are virtual this year, the speed with which the office has adapted to working mostly online and the level of availability they maintain, even when we cannot always see one another in person, has been truly impressive. Challenges are mainly related to timelines and the volume of work, but I love being kept busy and the pressure has made me accustomed to managing an extremely demanding schedule and delegating to others if need be.

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