The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Internship edifies in multiple ways

As the spring semester winds down, university students, most particularly juniors, enter into a continuous quest for the internship that will occupy their time during the long, hot summer months.

An essential part of a university level education, the employment afforded to students from May to August provides an opportunity to complement classroom education with work in a field of interest, to evaluate whether this might be a job that is fulfilling, and to develop skills needed to succeed in the workplace. Yet, with the weight of the ever-looming resume and post-graduation plans, junior year students are infamous for pouncing at the first internship opportunity, accepting without considering what menial task they might be charged with day after day during their summer vacation.

Weary of falling into this trap, I was not certain what I wanted to do last summer. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, an SMU staff member offered me an unforgettable opportunity! (Just goes to show what great connections our school fosters…)

As a very proud Mexican citizen studying political science, I have dreamt of working with the Mexican government for longer than I can remember. And finally, here was my chance to get my foot in the door.

I would spend two months of my summer working on the implementation in Mexico of AMBER Alert, an alert system in the United States dedicated to safely returning abducted children to their homes. Given the nature of the program, I would be closely collaborating with leaders in the private and public sector in Mexico, including various agencies of the Mexican government, mass media companies, and relevant non-governmental organizations.

The work was unbelievable, but more remarkable was how much I learned in a very short two months.

Because my “home base” was the U.S. embassy in Mexico, I learned the in’s and out’s of diplomatic life. In an increasingly globalized world, embassies are particularly remarkable places. Like a miniature American city in a foreign land, the U.S. embassy in Mexico City is a haven of American life and culture. The Cafeteria and the Commissary Gift Shop and

Market at the Embassy provide essential American amenities, including but not limited to Dr. Pepper (and Diet Dr. Pepper), Funfetti and LeanCuisine. Wouldn’t want to go without these when living abroad!

A more intriguing (and profound) realization was the mélange of languages spoken in the Embassy. I was shocked to discover that a large number of the Embassy employees were actually Mexican nationals. While this initially seemed counter intuitive, I soon realized that the Embassy was more than just the place where Mexicans went to obtain an American visa.

While the adjudication of visas is an important task of the Embassy, it is only the beginning. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico is also the nexus of bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

Right off of Reforma, the most well known avenue of Mexico, near “the Angel,” our symbol of independence, Mexican and American government officials collaborate to fight human trafficking, money laundering and corruption.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not naïve about the complexities of Mexico–U.S. relations. It is a precarious balance, to say the least. But, after my two month experience “on the ground,” I am more optimistic.

Not only did it complement my classroom education and research, plunge me into a job that is fulfilling, and develop skills needed to succeed in the workplace both in the United States and Mexico, but it also allowed me to interact with fascinating people whom I deeply admire and who will surely serve as role models as I tread through the tenuous waters of Senior year and enter the “real” world.

Adriana Martinez is a senior majoring in political science, French, public policy, and history. She can be reached for comment at [email protected]

More to Discover