Hilary Bombard ‘12
US State Department
What were your responsibilities as an intern and what skills did you develop?
As a program assistant for the Fulbright Belgium and Education USA office, I worked directly under Erica Lutes ’02, Educational Adviser & Program Manager for the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium and Luxembourg. My work included holding training sessions for representatives from over 30 different colleges and universities in Belgium, advising students on a daily basis, updating and creating the database of handouts for the advising center, presenting to fifty European students on the culture of debate. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the internship was interviewing and meeting over sixty Fulbright scholars for our video podcast series. I also had the chance to meet and interview Ambassador Gutman when he visited the US Embassy in Luxembourg, I honed my organizational and efficiency skills and grew in confidence in public speaking.
How did the internship connect to your coursework at MHC?
The internship made my college experience complete. I was able to put the leadership and organizational skills that I have developed while at MHC into practice and brought back many new skills and experiences that are benefitting me this academic year. By living in an incredibly diverse community I gained perspective on European politics, which is something I will continue to build on this year.
How did the internship have an impact on your coursework this year? How has it affected your professional goals?
After returning from my experience working abroad I have refocused my academic and career goals. I am now planning to work for the Foreign Service and am certain that I will work and live internationally after I graduate. I also geared my studies towards courses with a political focus, and I have become very invested in public policy centralized around the education, health and prison systems.
What did you learn that you did not expect to learn from your summer opportunity?
My internship at the Fulbright office in Belgium was by far the most enriching experience I have had. Not only did I gain invaluable work experience, I was immersed in a multitude of different cultures. Given the incredibly diverse and international community in Brussels I was exposed to the varying political perspectives of Europe, as well was the world, on a daily basis. More importantly, my time abroad allowed me to gain a better understanding of and appreciation for the United States, which I did not expect. I gained a “first person” look at the political climate of Belgium and its position within the European Union.