Internships

Value of an Internship

The value of an internship is in exploring career possibilities, developing contacts and extending and obtaining new skills and insights. Our team works throughout the students' first year to direct them toward the best internship given their career interests. Interns have worked all over the world in a wide scope of jobs that transcend their specialties.

Spanning the Globe

BA/MIA and MIA students are strongly encouraged to complete a summer internship. Their assignments range across all sectors and take them to nearly every continent across the globe.

Whether conducting field analysis to understand binational relations, quantifying market access or participating in development strategies, our students earn early entry to the major entities that shape our planet’s commerce and conduct. They graduate with valuable perspective and the seeds to a professional network that spans the globe. Read a sampling of recent internships organized by regions.

Africa/Europe/Middle East

  • Yaqing Cao, MIA ’17

    Yaqing Cao, MIA ’17

    International Humanity Foundation, Nakuru, Kenya

    “The mission of IHF is to educate poor children in developing countries. In particular, I was able to volunteer at the Kenya center. Before this internship I had never worked at an international nonprofit organization, nor had I been to Africa. I have been able to put my management skills to use and oversee the children staying at the center, finances and supplies. Working at the center has been both challenging and rewarding. I’ve grown a lot, and the opportunity has provided me with strong field experience for the future.”
  • Matthew Fry, MIA ’17

    Matthew Fry, MIA ’17

    U.S. Agency for International Development, South Sudan

    “Shortly after I arrived in USAID’s office of Sudan and South Sudan programs, violence erupted in Juba between rival factions in South Sudan’s interim government. More than 300 people were killed. I was given a pivotal role in the evacuation of the U.S. mission. I had the opportunity to work closely with officials up to the assistant administrator level to support life-saving efforts. My internship allowed me to make a valuable contribution to USAID’s mission and key connections in my career field. I won't forget the experience I had at USAID. It will impact my career and shape my future.”

  • Giang Thai, MIA ’17

    Giang Thai, MIA ’17

    Innovations for Poverty Action, Sierra Leone

    “My internship at IPA mostly involves monitoring the quality of data, as well as communicating with local enumerators for a research project related to public health. It has been the most challenging internship I have ever done but no doubt the one I have learned the most from. Translating concepts and theories I studied in the series of Quantitative Methods courses at GPS into concrete measures in a development project implementation, I have learned to appreciate the organized datasets I have access to so often. Also, I have gained a new perspective of seeing data not just as numbers, but as stories of the people the data represents.”
  • Seung Wan Kim, MIA ’17

    Seung Wan Kim, MIA ’17

    Malawi Project, Lilongwe, Malawi

    “As an intern for the Malawi Project, a research project focused on public health programs and education in Malawi, it’s been great to see the whole research process progress from baseline surveys to intervention, monitoring and follow-up. I support data management by partaking in activities such as cleaning baseline survey data, conducting data quality checks, updating census data and making data-entry programs. Recently, the project team asked me to set up a new monitoring team for maternal and pediatric health, which focuses on monitoring and intervention. I planned a training seminar for 46 monitors, and the seminar ended successfully.”

  • Johannes Veerkamp, MIA ’17

    Johannes Veerkamp, MIA ’17

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva

    “Working for the UNHCR has been a challenging experience full of instructive and eye-opening moments. Fortunately, my first day was World Refugee Day, and I could not have asked for a more fitting first day. I am working on a food security project focused on health implications of the cuts to food rations in Europe—a result of the current financial and refugee crisis. Overall, this internship affirms my desire to work within the international sphere.”

China/Taiwan

  • Isabel Li, MIA ’17

    Isabel Li, MIA ’17

    BAOZZA, Beijing

    “BAOZZA is a new food concept combining eastern bao and western pizza. This summer I am working with a 2009 GPS alum and another GPS intern on bringing this concept to Beijing. My main responsibility is to create business development strategies and operational models through intensive market research and community outreach. Overall, this internship has brought me a truly unique entrepreneurial experience and amazing networking opportunities.”
  • Xin Li, MIA ’17

    Xin Li, MIA ’17

    BAOZZA, Beijing

    “At the startup BAOZZA, I’ve been involved in activities to grow the business in the China food and beverage market. Since launching, our team has accomplished two successful pop-up events in three weeks. As a marketing and communications intern, my task is to craft marketing and public relations strategies, as well as partake in photography and basic visual design for product and event promotion. Additionally, I worked with my team on several market/industry research projects and was able to present analysis, as well as assist my colleagues with operation work.”
  • Qiang Xu, MIA ’17

    Qiang Xu, MIA ’17

    Huazun Financing Guarantee Co., Beijing

    “At Huazun Financing Guarantee Co., my main responsibility is to examine and verify the materials and documents of corporations that want to get loans from banks. To guarantee the accuracy and authenticity of the information provided by these corporations, we have to proofread and verify the information on their application forms against documents such as business registration and business permits. Moreover, I also am in charge of collecting fundamental information on these corporations from their official websites, including information on how their organization is structured, leadership and human resources. I then summarize and write reports, providing a reference to my manager who makes the final decision.”
  • Hao Zhang, MIA ’17

    Hao Zhang, MIA ’17

    Abercrombie & Kent/Out of the Boat Swim, China

    “A&K has a very energetic and passionate staff. To be a part of the marketing team is very challenging yet rewarding. I get the chance to understand the tourism industry better, as well as practice the marketing and organizing skills I learned at GPS. In the meantime, I also am helping Out of the Boat Swim prepare relevant documents for its corporate sponsors and volunteers.”

Japan

  • Ashlee Ellsworth, MIA ’17

    Ashlee Ellsworth, MIA ’17

    Mitsubishi Research Institute, Tokyo

    “At MRI, I've had the opportunity to work with funny and intelligent individuals I can now call my good friends. A day at the office still feels like I'm on vacation. The company goes out of its way to make us feel welcome and show us ‘the real’ Japan. Researching university-business collaborations and how intellectual property rights management affects said partnerships has been a fascinating topic. My supervisors and peers are supportive of whatever type of research I'm interested in and go out of their way to include me in discussions. It is truly the internship of a lifetime.”
  • Matthew Matsuyama, MIA ’18

    Matthew Matsuyama, MIA ’18

    Mitsubishi Research Institute Inc., Tokyo

    “In the human life department at MRI, I have been researching the Japan’s current labor conditions. This internship has been a fantastic opportunity for me to combine my qualitative, quantitative and linguistic skills. I have been invited to sit with colleagues at interviews, used MRI’s data analytics software to bolster my research and have enjoyed getting to know my Japanese co-workers. The remaining weeks of my internship will offer similar rewarding experiences, and I look forward to making the most out of my time left at MRI.”

Latin America

  • Pablo Cuellar, MIA ’17

    Pablo Cuellar, MIA ’17

    Chilean Pacific Foundation, Santiago, Chile

    “The Chilean Pacific Foundation is a think tank that supports Chile’s relationships with Asia Pacific countries. The main objective is to promote Chile’s economic, cultural, scientific, social, and technological areas, and to develop research, communication and feedback for its insertion in the Pacific Basin. In that sense, the foundation now is worried about the negotiation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the Pacific Alliance, a new economic block created by Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia. My main tasks were to make broad research decisions about the political and economic contexts of the Asia Pacific countries and write about them in the annual report of the foundation, which is used by the government, private sector and experts.”
  • Kristen Hamel, MIA ’17

    Kristen Hamel, MIA ’17

    Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock, Brasilia, Brazil

    “With the trade intelligence unit at CAN, I am gaining experience in trade analysis, with a focus on examining barriers to trade such as tariffs and regulations that are hindering Brazilian agriculture exports. CNA is an important institution for agriculture policy in Brazil. I have attended meetings with members from the UK Embassy after Brexit and a top ambassador from the U.S. Trade Representative. It has been a great opportunity to apply the economic analysis tools I learned during my first year at GPS, while also getting to experience Brazilian culture, cuisine, nightlife, incredible people and cows!”
  • Saul Lopez-Llane, MIA ’17

    Saul Lopez-Llane, MIA ’17

    Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico

    “I am working at Colegio de la Frontera Norte, a renowned research center and graduate school, supported by the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology. In my position, I collaborate with a researcher in developing the content for a seminar on energy efficiency and buildings for construction officials and entrepreneurs. My tasks are very diverse, as I analyze the national regulations on construction and energy efficiency to identify indicators and data needed to elaborate benchmarks to compare buildings in the region.”
  • Jaime Murillo Mena, MIA ’17

    Jaime Murillo Mena, MIA ’17

    El Departamento de Desarrollo Humano y Social, Jalisco, Mexico

    “El Departamento de Desarrollo Humano y Social in Tepatitlan de Morelos strives to provide social services at the county level. The municipality has a sum of 130,000 residents it serves, many of whom are from farmlands and rural zones. I have been working with PROSPERA, a program that aids in providing welfare to those in the lowest tiers of human and social development. The program has taken me to various delegations of the municipality, allowing me to use quantitative methods to aid the department in establishing citizen satisfaction of the welfare it provides.”
  • Jeff Presnell, MIA ’17

    Jeff Presnell, MIA ’17

    U.S. Department of State, Lima, Peru

    “My experience with the State Department’s Economic Section in Lima has been fantastic. Working with a small team has given me behind-the-scenes insight into bilateral trade relations and an opportunity to work on higher-level projects than I expected. I spend most of my time writing diplomatic cables and analyzing the changes to come with the new Pedro Pablo Kuczynski administration. My department’s work also happens to align very well with my interest in private sector development. Peru’s change of government, TPP membership, solid growth, warm U.S. relations and President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit has made my work all the more exciting.”

Southeast Asia

  • Thomas Burkhalter, MIA ’17

    Thomas Burkhalter, MIA ’17

    East Asia Institute, Seoul, South Korea

    “One month into my internship at EAI, we have been conducting research for an ongoing project regarding how American think tanks perceive China, and the current status of the South China Sea disputes. We are interested in understanding how American think tanks believe China will react to the expected result of the China-Philippines tribunal. The results of the research have been published on the EAI website, and a Korean version of the results was published in the Joongang-Ilbo newspaper.”
  • Steven Koller, MIA ’17

    Steven Koller, MIA ’17

    UN Development Programme, Singapore

    “I’ve had the opportunity to report on consultations between UNDP directors, government officials and regional experts from other multilateral organizations. Consultation topics have included the 2016 UNDP Human Development Report, as well as financing options for least developed countries as they pursue sustainable development goal targets. I’ve spent the bulk of my time working on a discussion paper that will address methodologies used in measuring ‘quality of bureaucracy.’ The final paper will assess the landscape of available data, as well as leading theoretical arguments on the topic. It will place special emphasis on the quality of national bureaucracies as they relate to environmental outcomes and may be published by the centre.”
  • Jordan Marks, MIA ’17

    Jordan Marks, MIA ’17

    East Asia Institute, Seoul, South Korea

    “As part of EAI’s peace and security cluster, our group has been focusing on a think tank analysis project. We research and analyze publications on East Asian topics from a number of prominent U.S. think tanks to gauge American perspective on affairs concerning Korea. I’ve also been tasked to work on several other projects, including a project aimed at developing civil society capacity in Myanmar, as well as assisting in translation and grant writing proposals.”
  • Kurt Nguyen, MIA ’17

    Kurt Nguyen, MIA ’17

    Dezan Shira & Associates, Singapore

    “As an ASEAN business intelligence assistant, my daily duties involve researching the regulatory environment and taxation of ASEAN countries such as Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore and other to advise clients on projects in those countries. I also write articles on Vietnam's investment climate for Dezan Shira & Associates' Vietnam briefing. Occasionally, I do other tasks such as generate leads for potential investment spots in Vietnam or create PowerPoints for my superiors' presentation. In August, I will move to the Ho Chi Minh City office to do more Vietnam-related work. On top of this position, I have been writing weekly news briefings on Vietnam's video games market for Niko Partners since April. This involves more research on Vietnam's regulatory environment, specifically telco and Vietnam authority, as well as other market developments.”

U.S.-East

  • Ryan Braun, MIA ’17

    Ryan Braun, MIA ’17

    U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

    “The Office of Western Hemisphere is dedicated to assisting American exporters in the region, as well as encouraging trade and greater interconnectivity between the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. In my work at the Cuba desk, I help analyze Cuban laws and regulations so we can understand potential, future trade hurdles. I also draft briefing memos and other documents to prepare senior officials for meetings on Cuban industry and politics. My time at GPS gave me the skills to quickly process a large amount of data and write it out succinctly and clearly.”

  • Taylor Bright, MIA ’17

    Taylor Bright, MIA ’17

    House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

    “Working for the Committee on Financial Services as a House Fellow has been exciting and rewarding. It is such a dynamic time to be in Washington, D.C.! I’ve been able to witness a sit-in on the House floor orchestrated by Democrats proposing a change in our nation’s policies on gun control, hearings concerning terrorism financing and the potential sale of aircrafts to Iran by the Boeing Corp., and even listened to Janet Yellen (chair of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System) speak in person about the state of the economy and actions currently being undertaken by the Federal Reserve during a time of uncertainty in global financial markets.”
  • Peter Telaroli, MIA ’17

    Peter Telaroli, MIA ’17

    Stimson Center, Washington, D.C.

    “Interning at the Stimson Center has been an enriching experience. I’ve researched development projects in the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam border areas, focusing on hydropower development in the 3S Rivers region (Srepok, Sesan and Sekong). Additionally, I’ve been researching solar development in Cambodia for an article to be published on Stimson’s website. Finally, being in the heart of D.C., has enabled me to attend events at think tanks like Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Wilson Center. This internship has challenged me to look at energy development in the Southeast Asia region from a systems perspective.”

  • Chutian Zhou, MIA ’17

    Chutian Zhou, MIA ’17

    Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia

    “My internship at FPRI is an extension of what I have been doing at both GPS and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. I work as a research assistant for Jacques deLisle, a professor of law and political science at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. I read and screen useful scholarly and journalistic articles on topics he is conducting research on, like (President of Taiwan) Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration, the contemporary Chinese governance and the Philippines-China arbitration. When he finishes writing pieces on these topics, I then do citation work, proofread and provide thoughtful critiques. I cherish the experience at FPRI. It deepens my understanding of my home country and forces me to keep reading, thinking and learning.”

U.S.-West

  • Aaron Crimmins, MIA ’17

    Aaron Crimmins, MIA ’17

    Grid Alternatives, San Diego

    “After one month at Grid Alternatives, I have learned quite a lot about the nonprofit world and solar energy. I have assisted in keeping track of projects and organizing them based on the varying impediments to completing a solar panel installation. I have spearheaded a new targeted canvassing initiative to complete stalled projects and also edited and created flyers for the company. I have attended meetings on the intricacies of solar energy implementation and how the utility companies function in this realm. I have become familiar with the online project management tools the office uses. I am looking forward to taking part in solar panel installations and also helping the newer Imperial Valley branch get started and find more clients.”
  • Daniel Falk, MIA ’17

    Daniel Falk, MIA ’17

    Association of National Olympic Committees, San Diego

    “I have been interning with the ANOC World Beach Games San Diego organizing committee. Throughout the first half of my internship experience, I have been working with my supervisor, Willie Banks, to help create an online Envoy (volunteer) Program for the Beach Games. To this end, I have collected information on various topics related to the Beach Games including information on ANOC, the 200 plus NOC’s, the city of San Diego itself, the sporting events that will constitute the Beach Games competition and other important factors that will be essential for volunteers to know for the Beach Games.”
  • Shihao Han, MIA ’17

    Shihao Han, MIA ’17

    UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy, San Diego

    “The major responsibility of my internship is assisting GPS Professor Richard Feinberg. We have been covering research topics on Cuba’s economic cooperation with South Korea, Cuban tourism development, as well as Cuba’s relationship with North Korea and China. My major tasks include searching and managing data online, making charts and graphs to provide basis for data analysis, writing memos summarizing recent situations and providing future horizons on the matter. Right now, Feinberg is making efforts on publishing these projects into articles, and I will provide further assistance on data and analysis in my future work.”
  • Dani Pardo, MIA ’17

    Dani Pardo, MIA ’17

    Project Concern International, San Diego

    “I work with the new business development unit and other departments in PCI. The main goal of the project I am in charge of is strategically combining and evaluating the information and experience gathered from PCI offices in Guatemala, Washington, D.C., and San Diego, to replicate the Barrio Mio project in other countries that would benefit from this model. Barrio Mio (which translates to My Neighborhood) focuses on disaster prevention through a community’s empowerment and joint work between local and national governments, as well as private companies, other nonprofits and academia. I am passionate about PCI’s principle: It works to provide support for stakeholders’ effective interaction, but understands the change has to come from the community’s people to be real.”
  • Qing Qing Zheng, MIA ’17

    Qing Qing Zheng, MIA ’17

    Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Los Angeles

    “As a policy analyst intern at the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, I research local laws, policies, budgeting and legislative processes that affect the Corps’ mission and programs for the underprivileged youth (ages 18-24) who are employed to gain job experience to start their own careers. Additionally, I am compiling a comprehensive resource guide of city-, county-, state- and federal-level politicians to contact for advocacy and funding via research and networking. I am learning to navigate the political network of the city and county of LA, inside and out.”