The U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service Office at the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb has organized a student internship for 11 years running, designed according to U.S. Department of Commerce guidelines.
“The program is created to encourage and develop the students’ interest in economy, business and public service. So far, we have had a very positive experience with the program and today most of our former interns have secured employed and are fully accomplished young people. I believe that the knowledge and skills gained with us has contributed to their career development”, says Suzana Vezilić of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service Office.
Iva Lemaić, a student of Digital Marketing at Algebra University College recently also did an internship at U.S. Embassy. “During her internship, Iva assisted the Foreign Commercial Service Office in gathering information, communicating with companies, organizing promotional events and maintaining a database using the Salesforce CRM database system. She created reports about the Croatian security sector, helped compile a contact list for several events that promoted American companies and conducted market research in order to find Croatian companies operating in the renewable energy sector. Iva’s information technologies and marketing skills in performing daily tasks made her stand out among other interns. The promotional materials that she created for our events and initiatives, such as the flyers for SelectUSA initiative and Distributed Energy Resources visual conference were excellently done. Throughout her tasks, Iva exhibited an exceptional sense for business and market principles. She performed all of her responsibilities to our full satisfaction. All of her work was high quality, demonstrated creativity and was delivered on time. Iva was a reliable and efficient intern, a hardworking learner and a great team player, with a positive attitude and strong focus on professional development,” said Robert Kohorst, United States Ambassador to Croatia evaluating Iva’s participation in the program. Iva competed her four-month internship just before the summer break, so we asked her what other students interested in participating can expect form the program, which is a cooperation between the U.S. Embassy and different educational institutions.
You did a four-month internship at the U.S. Embassy. How did that come about and what made you interested in participating in this project?
Several years ago, the “Work and Travel” program became very popular and many of my friends were interested in applying, so I also decided to explore the different possibilities offered by the U.S Embassy. Visiting their website, I found out there was the possibility of doing an internship during my final year of undergraduate studies, so when the time came, I submitted my application.
After that, I was invited to an assessment interview, completed all the steps and passed security checks that are standard procedure for institutions of this sort, and finally, I was officially selected for the internship. My advice to everyone is, when you see an opportunity, go for it and at least try your hand at what you are interested in – you never know where that might take you and what other opportunities might present themselves.
What sort of work tasks did you perform at the Embassy and how has this internship helped you in acquiring a hands-on skillset?
I mostly performed administrative tasks related to events organization, gathering information and processing data using the Salesforce CRM database system. Also, I participated in writing articles and coordinating meetings, and I found very interesting the creative tasks such as designing promotional flyers and similar materials for events. The Embassy staff has a very positive initiative in place, so the interns can participate in choosing the tasks they like the most and those which are related to their studies. Also, they make it possible for the interns to be present at events and to shadow the delegation on their visit to companies, which is an invaluable experience and an outstanding opportunity in the business world.
I would say that this internship has been very useful in acquiring office work experience and participating in unique events, all in an exceptionally friendly environment. Though the internship is not strictly related to my field of study, it definitely offers remarkable advantages and any student would learn many useful skills applicable in their future career.
During the internship, did you have a chance to refresh, strengthen and apply in practice some of the knowhow acquired in your studies at Algebra University College? Did you come across and learn anything else during your internship?
I would say that working with the Salesforce CRM system was definitely a chance to refresh, strengthen the knowledge acquired at Algebra and apply it in practice, which proves how important it is for all major organizations to be up to date with their clients and partners. Designing the promo materials allowed me to apply the skills acquired in the courses “Introduction to Marketing and Media Communications”, “Visual Communications Design” and “Computer Tools in Visual Communication”. Writing articles and choosing the most important information came as a sort of application of the knowledge gained in courses “Public Relations” and “Content Marketing”. Writing the articles, I also had a chance to learn more about writing speeches and choosing the most relevant information to present to the media, as well as the type of style and register in diplomatic addresses.
What would you say to other students who are thinking about applying for the internship at the U.S. Embassy?
Doing this internship, you will have a chance to consolidate some of the knowledge obtained during your studies at Algebra, you will gain a better insight into work habits, have an experience of working in a friendly working atmosphere, get to practice English with native speakers, participate in unique events, make contacts across the business world, advance your communication skills, and, after completing the program, have an excellent reference in your resume and a nice memory.
So, if you are at all interested in this program, do not hesitate – apply and see what sort of advantages it can bring you. Bear in mind that there are any many opportunities, but how many you use during the internship is up to you!