Jasper Oosterveld is currently doing an internship at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. He is a graduate of the BA Spaanse Taal en Cultuur and currently an MA student in Linguistics, both at the UvA. During his internship, he mainly dedicates his time to two tasks. The first one is the development of a new policy for second language acquisition, because a good command of foreign languages is, of course, indispensable for ambassadors, diplomats and other foreign service personnel. The second task concerns the development of a learning programme on Intercultural Competence. Cultural knowledge and abilities are closely tied and, again, indispensable for those who work in international settings.
Jasper would strongly recommend doing an internship. The experience enhances your work experience, where a larger emphasis is placed on developing and acquiring skills than when studying. Furthermore, an internship greatly improves your network, your ability to give quality examples in future job application letters and interviews, and last but not least: it looks great on your CV. This will all benefit greatly you when you start looking for a job. Studying a language is a plus to get an internship like this one, since language students are always needed and wanted in international work. This goes for Embassies and Consulates in particular, but also at the Ministry itself, as well as other multilateral organisations like the EU and UN. It’s tough to get in, but once you’re in, it’s very rewarding.