kept on my toes at work. Every day I work on a new project,
whether reading press reviews for recent political party developments
in France or doing briefings for conferences and meetings.
Lately I've been studying labor trends in France from a political
and economic perspective. It's pulled together perhaps every
skill I've learned in college thus far, from the basics of
research to the final steps of analysis and revision. It feels
as if I'm going to be graded at the end — it's that intense.
While I find myself working extra-long hours sometimes, it's
all worth it. Aside from the normal projects and operations
in the section of the embassy, I get fun, adventurous ones
every so often. The other day I had to deliver a letter from
Secretary of State Colin Powell himself to the French Minister
of Foreign Affairs. I got to be driven by a car from the Embassy's
motorpool — a huge, bullet-proof Ford — just to deliver the
letter. It almost feels as if I'm a diplomat myself!
My supervisor allows me to attend various receptions every
so often, which has been interesting. For instance, last week
we were invited to a reception sponsored by the Swedish embassy
and held at a Saab dealership to "celebrate summer." It was
great to mill around, drink expensive champagne, pretend to
be important, and look at nice cars.
However, other times it can be very intimidating. Another
reception we attended was sponsored by the French government
in honor of the Croatian republic. The scenery was beautiful,
the food was great (something that I had to confirm by trying
more and more), but having so many important ambassadors and
officers from all around the world who I didn't know slightly
intimidated me. Then a worker in my section told me that although
it takes courage to break the barrier, diplomacy is best learned
through receptions such as this. Keeping that in mind, the
next reception was not even half as bad. I realized that if
I was confident in who I was and offered the two cents that
a college education has given me, many individuals actually
became even more interesting. When I mentioned that I was a
student, it'd spark a great hour-long conversation as the others
reminisced on their "young years." Either way, courage was
the trick to break the barrier.
Such opportunities, with informal conglomerations of representatives
from all around the world, are rare and golden. At these receptions
I sparked conversations about first-name difficulties with
a representative from Bosnia-Herzegovina, the growth of Bollywood
with a delegate from Sri Lanka, and even talked about Berkeley
liberalism with a British citizen. With each conversation comes
a great experience and exposure.
At this point in my internship — almost half over — I'm
beginning to take small trips to other European countries to
with interns at other embassies. This weekend I'm going to
London. And I'm excited about celebrating the Fourth of July
at this huge gala/reception hosted by Howard Leach, the U.S.
Ambassador to France. It's another opportunity to meet individuals
from all around the world! Just one step closer to being the
Bond I've always wanted to be.