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Experience of a lifetime

December 15, 2011 by  


Internship with the Center for Global Understanding

By Moshtayeen Ahmad

Moshtayeen_Ahmad_120811So basically, all interns come to the District of Columbia because they are trying to save the world. If not that, it is all about resume boosters and looking good on paper. In reality, let us hope that an intern’s intentions match that of the first motivation over the latter.

Before I began my internship, I definitely saw myself saving the world one day and getting involved in activities for the greater good. But I guess the world was too much for me to tackle, so I decided to conquer D.C. first. Don’t worry world, I’ll be there one day.

When I embarked on my journey to D.C., I was a bit all over the place.

I’m a senior at Florida State University majoring in International Affairs and Middle East Studies, with a minor in Urban & Regional Planning. With the thought of graduation so near, before I left for D.C., I was rushing to take the GRE, finishing up the first chapter in my honors thesis and getting more and more excited to get into the city. I imagined running into Obama where we would become great friends on a level where I could say “I’m in the hizhouse,” more commonly known as the White House. I also fantasized about running into Hilary Clinton at the Department of State where we would be drinking coffee as we discussed the next move in America’s foreign policy and I would lightly mention how I read her memoir in the eighth grade and that I loved her since! It is good to dream, especially when D.C. is filled with infinite possibilities.

With all the craziness set aside, I packed my bags and left for our nation’s capital. When I arrived, I was seeing exactly what I was expecting to see, everyone running around in suits looking very professional. I arrived to the housing facility and loved my new home right away. I was a very fortunate person and got stuck with the ideal roommate and we both aided each other through the process of adjusting to the city, internship, and classes. With this program, I not only networked with higher officials, but I made relationships with my peers that will be lifelong and valuable.

Having an internship is a great  experience, but it is programs like The Center for Global Understanding (CFGU) that really enhances it.

Their mission is “to provide a platform to cultivate the next generation of American leaders through internships in Washington D.C.

and continued training and education on leadership development.” CFGU provided a scholarship to me and 17 other students from across the country in the summer of 2011 to be part of this once in a lifetime experience. For summer 2012, CFGU is offering 25 scholarships for Muslim American college students to intern in Washington D.C.  You must be a college sophomore in an accredited college or university to participate in the program.

Because of CFGU, I attended lectures at various embassies, networked with potential employers, and met prominent figures in our community, as well as the Muslim American community. I did not just meet the stereotypical “political representatives,” but I got perspectives from leaders of all ages with various backgrounds dealing with issues ranging from improving a community to global health. We had discussions with well known Muslim American Leaders such Ambassador Rashad Hussain  from the State Department, Ambassador Islam Siddiqui from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Noosheen Hashemi, former Oracle Corporation executive and a Social Entrepreneur among others. It is extremely important for minorities to foster skills to become future leaders of America, which is the main mission of the Center for Global Understanding.

Through my experience in D.C., I attained hands-on experience with things I never expected to have. I saw myself making a difference as I got more civically engaged. I lobbied on the hill, volunteered at a homeless shelter, and made a stance on issues I believed in strongly, such as women’s rights. I contacted people of prestigious titles and spoke to various officials from several embassies as if they were my colleagues. Not many twenty-one year olds are blessed with such amazing experiences. Words cannot fully describe the thrills of Washington D.C.

So it isn’t really the world that I’ll be saving, but I do see myself impacting our community. This past summer gave me the confidence to feel this way, and encouraged those that I work with to be confident in me. The Center for Global Understanding guides their interns towards a more successful future and endless opportunities. You can visit http://www.centerforglobalunderstanding.org for more information or contact me, Moshtayeen, at mba08c@my.fsu.edu.

Moshtayeen Ahmad is a senior at the Florida State University majoring in International Affairs.

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