Like what Matt said in his entry, before I came onto this trip, the only real insight that anyone of us had into this program was from the previous entries. Being an intern in the Senate is one of the greatest experiences that one can hope to have. Despite the joys of getting free breakfast and lunch at AEI, the sheer ease of walking to the Asia Foundation and the fulfilling work that is Global Giving, I would not trade my internship for any other. There are three main reasons why working at the Senate is the internship choice for you.
1. It's the Senate
Seriously, it's the United States Senate. What more could you ask for? The buildings are beautiful within and Senator Inhofe's room, which is located in Russell Building, is perhaps the grandest of them all. It is the oldest building for the Senate and his office used to be vacated by Joe Biden! Back when good old Biden was still a Senator. The staff is very friendly, as Oklahomans and those who live in the South tend to be. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in US Congress and understand the role that the government has to play when running the behemoth that is the United States. Moreover, if you're like me and have an interest in politics- this is the internship for you. The amount of extra knowledge I have gained about US politics is astounding. Facts that I would not have even thought of knowing are now stuck in my head. The seemingly endless briefings that educate those who work in the Senate, and luckily myself, on the current affairs along with the constant reading of political news is an intense explosion of knowledge in a very short period of time.
2. Challenging your beliefs
It is pretty obvious from the beginning that your Australian beliefs will differ immensely from the Senator's positions but it is very interesting to listen and learn the arguments for those positions. The conservative agenda of less regulation and an emphasis on free market economic principles will bode well for the young Commerce student but perhaps their position on gun control will irk the budding politician. Either way, prepare to be invigorated by the dynamic nature of an internship on the Hill because the research tasks and roles that you'll have to play will change day in day out.
3. Get out from your comfort zone!
Being commerce students, it’s a rarity that you’ll get to experience life in policy making and government work. Sadly, we’ll most likely be victims of over regulation in the future and poor fiscal management. Washington DC is the place to experience politics, if only once in your lifetime. Getting immersed in the culture allows you to understand that politics exists outside of the normal frameworks of life here, rather it is embedded so deeply that it’s impossible to understand DC without having understood where politics stands. I’m personally taking a Sociology of Crime class at the moment as well and this brief dabble in Arts has been very enjoyable so far. An internship on the Hill is something that would benefit most Commerce students for their career to come, if not just for the experience of it all.
Have a good one,