Students reap the benefits of the International Affairs Internships: Seeing how the world runs!


In the fall, Mah-Noor Ahmed a political science major with a minor in National Security Studies will attend the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Ahmed attributes her acceptance to the prestigious master’s program in Washington DC to UH’s Political Science International Affairs Internship Program (IAIP).

Dr. Susan Scarrow, Moores Professor of Political Science and Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Political Science and IAIP coordinator, Dr. Zachary Zwald have just completed another successful year of the International Affairs International Affairs Internships: Seeing How the World Runs!

This well-oiled internship program takes advantage of Houston’s prominence as a global city, and then strategically places students in internationally oriented internships throughout the city. This year, the program successfully placed 15 students in international internships, including in foreign consulates (United Kingdom and France), the World Affairs Council of Houston, the Asia Society of Texas, and the Mayor’s Office for International Trade and Development, and in human rights non-governmental organizations.  Student interns gained perspectives on potential career paths and helped them to build their professional networks.  As a result, Ahmed alongside another 2016-17 interns will be attending George Washington University’s MA program in International Affairs in the fall. Other internships led directly to related employment opportunities, including a full-time position with the Embassy of the United Kingdom, in Washington D.C.

A few student insights about the IAIP program

Joseph Widacki: "As an intern at the British Consulate General of Houston, I had the opportunity over the course of the semester to learn first-hand about the dynamics of international relations, trade and diplomacy. The experience was completely hands on and unlike any other internship that I have had, as they engaged me in the decision making process and trusted me to help above the level normally seen of interns. I feel that I learned more being a part of this internship than I have in almost any lecture class that I've taken as a part of my college experience."

David Anthony Martinez: "This year I interned with the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston. I worked as a programs intern. My core responsibilities were helping organize programs, events, researching content, and topics for new events. Overall, my experience was positive. I had several opportunities to network with experts in the international affairs community. I enjoyed this opportunity to intern with the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston."

Mah-Noor Ahmed: "I interned for the Mayor's Office of Trade and International Affairs at city hall during the fall 2016 semester and spring 2017 semester. As a Political Science major with a minor in National Security Studies, I had always wanted to take what I learned and practice it in real life. I have a special interest in international affairs, so an internship at the Mayor's office was perfect for me. I helped organized mayoral trade missions and the Consular Ball. I was able to witness diplomacy practiced first hand at the city government level. I met amazing people such as the Mayor, city council members, members of U.S. Congress and diplomats. IAIP has truly helped with my future plans. I recently was accepted into The George Washington University at the Elliott School of International Affairs to pursue a Master's degree in International Affairs and I plan to attend in the fall of 2017. I believe that my internship experience with IAIP made my application to graduate school exemplary and unique. It has also prepared me for my graduate studies and professional plans."

Julia Ngo: "My internship at the French Consulate has given me valuable experience in working within a professional environment. I was able to work in a bilingual and bicultural environment. I was responsible for my own projects and assignments. I was able to communicate with various media outlets in Houston. I have to know about French organizations and areas in Houston that were influenced by the French culture. I have learned that politics is not as one-sided as I thought. Political Science is a very broad major which can lead to jobs in different fields."

To learn more about this program, contact the IAIP coordinator, Dr. Zachary Zwald at zjzwald@Central.UH.EDU.