Aspiring Foreign Service officer spends summer at U.S. Embassy in Serbia

Penn State SIA student Alexis Rodriquez became an integral member of the United States Embassy in Serbia’s Economic Affairs Section at her internship this summer.

Alexis Rodriguez spent her summer as an intern in the United States Embassy in Serbia, where she became an integral member of the embassy’s Economic Affairs Section.

As an aspiring Foreign Service officer, Rodriguez worked with SIA’s Career Services Office to find a summer employment opportunity that would work with her career goals and craft a resume and statement of purpose that would help her stand out—ultimately helping her secure her internship with the embassy, where she worked on a wide range of issues.

“My day to day work was never the same,” Rodriguez said. “One unexpected element of my internship was how much my superior trusted me with substantial work that contributed to the section. I never felt like an intern; I always felt like a part of the economic team.”

She wrote diplomatic cables on behalf of the embassy’s economic section, focusing on issues related to science and health, labor, technology, and cybersecurity. She also got an inside look at the inner workings of international diplomacy as she attended and hosted numerous meetings with representatives from other Embassies, international leaders in the field of cybersecurity, high-ranking officials in the Serbian government, and more—all of which confirmed her long-held dream of becoming a Foreign Service officer.

“I was able to take the knowledge and skills I learned in my courses at SIA and directly apply them to my work at the embassy,” Rodriguez said. “I learned so much more about Serbia and Eastern Europe in general from this internship, and grew both personally and professionally.”

This fall, Rodriguez is continuing to build on her international experience by studying abroad in Poland, where she is studying international affairs as it relates to Polish culture, politics, and society.