PLP Passport Project: U.S. Department of State Student Internship

This summer I was selected to be an intern at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE with the State Department Internship Program and had some of the best learning and cultural experiences of my life.

The ten weeks I spent in the management section were very informative, interesting, and fun. I worked on projects such as locating pieces of missing embassy artwork and getting new nameplates for them, gathering information on certain reports from each of the management sections and then putting that into a full report to be sent to the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), conducting a survey on the customer satisfaction at the embassy cafeteria, and various other odd jobs from around the management section.

As an intern, I was able to facilitate brownbag sessions with the other sections in the embassy in order to build a network and learn what the other sections do. I spent two days in consular and learn about visa interviews as well as what the embassy can do for American citizens abroad such as visit them in jail. We also organized a day to visit Consulate General Dubai and bring the intern from Dubai to Embassy Abu Dhabi to show her around there.

In addition to work during the day at the embassy, there is a very tight knit community at the mission that is always open to welcoming in new interns, so I made many new friends from all over the country and the world.

I also had time to travel to Kuwait, Sri Lanka, and Oman, which is especially exciting because Abu Dhabi and Dubai are easy hubs to get everywhere in the Eastern world.

Some highlights from my time during the internship include:

  • During the holy month of Ramadan, I attended numerous Iftars and Suhoors (the meals Muslims eat during the moonlit hours), which have all been delicious and ranged from hotel-fancy to big, important Emirati family type events. I met the spiritual advisor to the royal family at a Suhoor he hosted at his family’s farm!
  • I casually had dinner with the Ambassador, as she “dropped by” during a small girls night we were having (while her drivers and bodyguards sat outside in their cars, of course). That was way
  • During my first week on the job, I was involved in helping with the Secretary of State visit to Abu Dhabi. What a neat experience that was! I was able to see the significant amount of steps involved in a visit of a high-ranking official like John Kerry.
  • I visited American citizens being detained at an Emirati prison with the American Civil Services section of the embassy. I can’t say too much about it due to privacy reasons, but that has been one of the most intriguing parts of the embassy to me thus far. Watching visa interviews being conducted with people wanting to travel to the US was so fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking. It was for this reason that I decided I want to work in the consular section when I apply for the Foreign Service and begin my journey through the process of being admitted.

Many, many thanks to the PLP community for their support and encouragement in allowing me to travel to the United Arab Emirates for furthering my leadership studies in a setting in which I want to work in the future. It was a dream of mine come true! Thank you!

Post written by: Kirby Lamar

This project was made possible through the awarding of a Passport Grant made possible by the generous contributions of PLP Alumni and Friends. Thank you to all who empower PLPers to do amazing things!

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