Jon F. Danilowicz, the U.S. State Department Diplomat in Residence for New England, visited the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University on September 20, 2017 for a discussion with students about navigating career and internship opportunities at the State Department.
Danilowicz said two of the best ways for young professionals interested in pursuing careers in the foreign service to get their foot in the door at the State Department is through the Consular Fellows Program and Virtual Student Foreign Service.
“What’s nice about a virtual internship is that you can do it while you’re still in school and at school. It doesn’t require security clearance, which as I talk about other opportunities, you’ll see can be a real pain,” Danilowicz said. “If you’re a freshman and you’re thinking about what to do next year, you could potentially apply to a VSFS internship when it opens up in June or July, and then do that during the next academic year. Other class years can do VSFS as well.”
According to Danilowicz, completing a VSFS project is a good way for students to position themselves for applying to internships or other opportunities at the State Department in the future.
“It’s a good way to get experience and exposure and build a network at the State Department which might position you well for an in-person internship or another opportunity down the line,” Danilowicz said.
Danilowicz emphasized the importance of developing language skills for Pardee School students interested in pursuing careers in the foreign service.
“Certain languages open certain doors for you. In our selection process for the foreign service, certain languages give you additional points in our hiring process,” Danilowicz said. “Just to be able to demonstrate the ability to learn a language is important because to be a a foreign service officer and to be tenured you have to have proficiency in a language within five years, and to be promoted to senior foreign service you need language proficiency.”
Danilowicz also discussed the State Department internship program, which offers internships to students in the Spring, Summer and Fall both in Washington D.C. and abroad. He encouraged interested students to visit the State Department’s career website for more information.