Home Away From Home: An AU Student shares her internship experience at the Embassy

August 5, 2015

By Emily Perzanoski

As I sat in my Jabal Amman apartment last October composing a cover letter for an internship at the Embassy of Jordan, I dreamed of an opportunity to remain connected to the country after my time there expired. I was only halfway through a semester-long study abroad experience, but my time in the Hashemite Kingdom had already fueled my passion for the country. That passion has only been strengthened and refined through my internship experience with the Jordan Information Bureau.

Fast-forward two months and I was boarding a planeto John F. Kennedy International Airport. Despite the workshops I sat through on reverse culture shock and warnings from my study abroad program, I was incredibly excited and confident as I buckled into my seat at Queen Alia International Airport in late December. Looking forward to time spent with family, friends, and a large plate of bacon, I left Jordan feeling content with my experience but ready to be back home. However, returning to the United States was more difficult than I expected. Starting a semester of tough classes while adjusting to life back in the states was a challenge. But even with my busy schedule, I decided to take on an internship with the embassy. Looking back, I could not be happier with that choice.

Walking up International Drive on a cold January morning, I passed buildings representing the international community and arrived at my destination. I shyly greeted the embassy guards and was led upstairs to the meet with the Jordan Information Bureau team. I immediately felt welcome in my position and I quickly immersed myself in the work I was assigned. The three days each week I spent at the embassy from January to May helped me grow professionally, learn academically, and most importantly, adjust personally to life back in the United States. America is my home, but the girl that left for Jordan was not the same as the woman who returned 4 months later. Her home felt different too.

Before starting my internship at the embassy, I struggled with balancing my life as an American in America with what my life had been as an American in Amman. Committing myself to my work at the embassy allowed me to reconcile those two identities. Though my initial plan was to intern at the embassy from January until May, I decided to continue working with the Information Bureau into the summer because of the meaningful nature of my work.

Each day brings new challenges as the news is constantly changing in a region as volatile and complex as the Middle East. The daily reports I complete allow me to stay up to date on events in Jordan and beyond. Furthermore, my tasks are always changing as news breaks. I am especially proud to bring a unique perspective to the embassy as an American. Even with my knowledge and interest in the region, I inherently view events with an American eye. On the flip side, my experience at the embassy has added a new dimension to my perspective; I initially react to an event through my American lens and then take a step back to see the world in a different light. Despite challenging tasks and nonstop workdays, I have maintained a high level of performance and solidified my passion for politics in Jordan and the Middle East. My professional and personal development is directly related to my time spent with the Information Bureau, and I am confident heading into a new internship experience next semester and starting post-grad life come January.

As my time at the embassy comes to a close, it is difficult to express my gratitude for the experience and those who made it so special. A year ago, I knew very little about the country I would be spending a semester in and later working for the embassy of. Today, I am not only educated, but I am also motivated to learn more. As I walk up International Drive on a humid August morning for my last day of work, I know I am entering a place that I may physically leave, but will never leave my heart.

[Emily Perzanoski joined the Jordan Information Bureau on January 20, 2015. Perzanoski is scheduled to graduate from the American University in December 2015 with a major in International Studies and a minor in Arabic Language. Perzanoski plans to pursue a career in politics, security and human rights in the Middle East. She can be reached at emilyperzanoski@gmail.com.]