Georgene Abbey: A life-changing internship at the U.S. Embassy in Oman
Political science student, Georgene Abbey, had a life-changing internship this past summer that helped shape her career goals. Abbey’s background in political science, philosophy and peace and conflict studies gave her the chance to work with people all over the world at the U.S Embassy in Oman. Despite her busy schedule as a senior at Wayne State, we sat down with Abbey to talk about her experience working in the Middle East.
How did you get an internship at the U.S Embassy in Oman?
When looking for internships, I applied to all agencies. I looked into Oman because this was going to be my first time in the Middle East and I wanted to go a country that had positive relations with their neighbors.
Were there any struggles adjusting to the Omani lifestyle?
The Omani people were so nice and welcoming. There was not a big culture shock because of how at home the Omani’s made me feel. The biggest struggle I faced was not being accustomed to the weather. My first week in Oman was the last week of Ramadan and the temperatures there were never less than 46 Celsius —that’s 116 degrees Fahrenheit!
What was it like networking in another country?
I made a lot of personal connections during my internship. I got to sit down with the South Korean ambassador and talk to him about how much I love their country and how I studied abroad there last summer. The Italian ambassador invited me to his house for a party. I also had the chance to sit down with a deputy ambassador and have meetings with them. It was surreal being a 21-year-old intern and talking to some of the most influential people in international relations.
What did you do when working for the U.S Embassy?
I mostly worked in the general services office, which is the biggest department within the U.S Embassy. We handled employee affairs as well as arranging housing for incoming officers. I also had the chance to shadow in the counselor department. They handle immigration and are in charge of making sure that any arrested American citizens are being handled properly.
So, what’s next?
Working every day in a field I love motivated me even more when it comes to finding a job after graduation. I really want to go into regional security or the political-military department. This internship gave me a good sense of what agency life is really like. It made me realize that I don’t want to work in the general services department and it taught me what I love (and don’t love) about government work.
Any advice for future political science Warriors?
Political science advisor, Ryan Ferrante, was wonderful and sent out internship opportunities at least four times a week. My biggest piece of advice is to apply to every single one that comes your way. Last year, I worked in Senator Gary Peters’ Detroit office and I randomly applied for the position. My boss at the time liked that I have media experience. I am not attending an ivy league school and don’t have a 4.0 GPA, but I stand out because I do have experience in other things and I’m personable. My internship with Senator Peters opened so many doors and I know that my internship in Oman will open even more after I graduate in May.