Current and former BBG interns talk about their experiences.
Also see what Sam Miles, a senior at Berkeley College and former Voice of America intern, had to say about his work with the VOA in Haiti (and the value of government service) in the Yale Daily News.
Here’s what other former interns had to say:
Lindsay Matthews, BBG Public Affairs office (summer 2011), Hampton University
My experiences at BBG were among the best of my professional and personal experiences to date! Working in an office that collaborates with offices throughout the agency allowed me to make connections with many life-long mentors and to think outside the communications realm. As an intern in the Office of Public Affairs, I participated in many projects that contributed to the mission of the office. The opportunity was more than I could have asked for. Researching background information for press releases and highlights, interviewing fellow interns for profiles, shooting photos of events, posting on blogs and social media sites, and compiling media packages – I did all, just like my professional counterparts’ in the office. I was valued here. No one ever treated me differently because I was fresh out of school . On the contrary, they valued my insights and perspectives.
Kseniya Belik, VOA Public Relations office (summer 2011), University of Virginia
It’s almost impossible to describe how much there is to learn at VOA. As a Public Relations intern, I assist the Public Relations staff with studio tours, research, promotion through social media, and — my favorite — interviewing VOA’s diverse staff and then writing for the blog or internal newsletter. As part of my internship, I meet and interview a truly impressive assortment of international journalists and broadcasters at VOA. In the past month alone I’ve talked to the producers of “Parazit” (deemed the “Iranian Daily Show” by the Washington Post) and interviewed the famous Ukrainian TV host, Myroslava Gongadze. I’ve found that beyond the incredible range of VOA’s technical operations is a team of truly remarkable and unique people. Working and communicating with such a diverse mix of people has piqued my curiosity in foreign current events and cross-cultural communication. I have boundless learning opportunities and unparalleled experiences every day, which makes my time at VOA both exciting and rewarding.
Ahmed Selawy, VOA Public Relations office (2011), American University
Interning at VOA is one of the best experiences I have had in the U.S. It has helped me greatly in understanding U.S. culture and has given me valuable insight into journalism and public relations. I attend daily editorial meetings where I have the chance to hear department heads analyze current events and learn about events happening around the globe. One of the most exciting things I do is lead studio tours, where I get the chance to meet people of all ages from the across the country. Interning at VOA is an amazing experience you don’t want to miss!
Sara Friedman, VOA Public Relations office (summer 2011), Ithaca College
As a journalism major, VOA is a remarkable place for me. Little did I know that there’s a place where 44 different languages are spoken daily in one building! Interning in the Public Relations Department has allowed me to explore our different language services. Through giving studio tours, I have met people from all walks of life, young and old, from many different places. So far, my favorite part of the internship has been meeting broadcasters like Americana reporter Ted Landphair and sports reporter Sonny Young. There’s a constant flow of activity in this building with shows broadcasting 24/7, and I enjoy watching shows go into production on the rare slow day at VOA. My internship at VOA is full of pleny of possibilites.
Mark Lane,Near East and Central Asia Division (2011), Rogers State University
What I thought going into the internship was that this internship was just going to be editing video for news packages. But instead, I got a chance to work with every medium and most jobs behind those media. Some of the things I have got to do include writing headlines, do voice packages, conduct radio interviews, and even write blogs!
Jessica Xue, VOA Public Relations (2011), American University
I work at the Public Relations Office of Voice of America as a Student Assistant. My responsibilities in this position include researching, writing and editing press releases, media coverage. and social media contents, supporting outreach efforts of the organization. I also arranged group briefings for specialized and general visitor groups and conducted multilingual tours in English and Mandarin. My experience at this job taught me to speak clearly, communicate effectively, and manage my time more efficiently. My internship at Voice of America has provided me a great opportunity to add to my experience in international relations. I strongly encourage other students to apply.
JeongYeop Shin, VOA Korea Division (2011), HanYang University
I get to learn about how broadcasting works, participate in news-team meetings, and find topics I am interested in and research and write articles about it. If there is a project that I want to participate in, VOA is very helpful in letting me shadow others and learn about what is going on. One thing that I have done recently is making Features that use on- the- street interviews that ask Americans about taxes. North Korea doesn’t have taxes, so our programming helps show the North Korean people what life is like in the outside world. This internship is better than expected because it is revealing to me what I want to do for the rest of my life. I knew I was interested in broadcasting, but didn’t know what area. Here I am exposed to everything and get to learn all aspects of how VOA works, guiding me in what I am most interested in.
Greg Saperstein, BBG Office of Public Affairs (2011), American University
The BBG is a great place to work. Regardless of the office you work in, everyone, even from other offices, says hi to you in the hallways. I definitely think what I learned here will benefit me in the future; the tools I used and the lessons I had learned proved to be invaluable. I worked on a huge project for Public Service Recognition Week, where we interviewed various BBG/VOA employees on how they assist America and how their job is a service to the country. After the interviews, we took about 100 minutes of footage and b-roll and edited it into three 4-minute long videos. This was just one of the projects. The office is a great environment, you have your own space to work and the office staff is available to help you out whenever you need. I had never really expected it to be this enjoyable, and it had actually deepened my interest in the fields of public diplomacy, media censorship, video journalism, and video production. One of the main things interns should know is: “if you are ever in doubt with something, just ask. That’s what everyone is here for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Rachel Goetz, BBG Office of Public Affairs (2011), University of California San Diego
My experience with BBG continues to give me an understanding of how life outside of my “school bubble” works. This opportunity is exciting and interactive, putting current events into perspective through an international and communication lens. Not only is this internship extending my worldview, it is also helping me focus my career goals into what I am passionate about in a hands-on setting. Through being involved with events, the media, and social projects, I have gained an enriching exposure to both the press and politics. One opportunity that I have really enjoyed is BBG’s willingness to let me participate in meetings with people who are making changes in news and media. Listening to how different programs are being implemented has provided me with a dynamic idea of how an idea spurs a meeting, which turns into a project, which evolves into creating a difference.