JANUARY FEBRUARY 2015
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
The virtual internship is a unique avenue for
students to gain experience in a particular field.
BY AHVA SADEGH I
Ahva Sadeghi is a senior studying philosophy, poli-
tics, economics and law at the University of Arizona.
She was a summer 2014 intern with the AFSA Labor
Management o ce. As a participant in the 2013-
2014 State Department Virtual Student Foreign Ser-
vice Internship Program, she worked with the O ce
to Combat andMonitor Tra cking in Persons, performing 20
research a week to contribute to the 2014 TIP Report. She has continued
her engagement with the VSFS for the 2014-2015 academic year and is
nowworking for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to
help prepare the 2014 Human Rights Report on the Middle East. In addi-
tion to her work with the VSFS Internship Program, Sadeghi has taught
English in Korea, founded the University of Arizona’s rst human rights
club and is a cellist in the UA Philharmonic Orchestra.
How to Intern at
high grade-point average and a degree
are not enough anymore. In the
increasingly competitive job mar-
ket for young people, there is a new
trend that is now a “must-have” on a
resume. It is an internship, more often
than not, unpaid.
is new require-
ment can be a very rude awakening
for many poor college students. After
all, internships are not just competitive; they are also extremely
costly. Students have to pay for transportation, housing, profes-
sional clothes, food and more, to work for free.
However, with the tools of globalization, students can cir-
cumvent the burdensome costs of an internship by undertak-
ing a virtual internship.
e Department of State has designed
theVirtual Student Foreign Service
to allow American students
the opportunity to intern for di erent agencies and posts
abroad without leaving home.
Although there are many opponents of this type of intern-
ship, I can personally vouch for its e ectiveness. After having
interned in the o ces of the Peace Corps, Colibri Center for
Human Rights, Southwest Research Center and the Depart-
ment of State, I could be considered something of an intern-
At rst, I was quite skeptical about an online internship
and how much I could gain from it. I know that my experience
with online classes has not measured up to in-class lectures.
However, as a student studying in Arizona, a virtual internship
was an exciting opportunity. I could work for the State Depart-
ment while I was studying at my home institution thousands
of miles away!
ere were more than 300 di erent internship jobs posted
for VSFS when I applied in June 2013, so students are bound