Friday, October 21, 2011

Ya got lunch made when you work in trade!

Lydia Li

Washington International Trade Association

Tell me about what the Washington International Trade Associate (WITA) does, and what your responsibilities are as an intern.

We are a nonprofit and nonpartisan trade policy oriented organization with over 2,000 members. We organize trade policy events where we invite speakers from the USTR and other organizations to talk with our members. Aside from that, we have e-publications on our website and we run a small career center to help young trade professional start their careers in the trade arena.

As an intern, I have two major responsibilities: the first are my daily duties. This means answering phone calls, replying to emails and keeping up our website. The second part is event related. I create fliers, other promotional material and I am in charge of registering guests.

How many events do you host each week? How dramatically do your hours fluctuate between event/non-event days?

We usually have one event per week. However, since most of our speakers are trade executives or government member there are some weeks where they are in extensive negotiations. This can mean no events one week and more than one the next.

On the day of the event, I have to be at work one hour before the event starts- this means getting up early. But I can usually leave early on Fridays if there is not too much to do.

On average, how many free meals would you say you get each week? And on a scale of 1-10 how would you rate these meals?

Wow… on average? Two or three…. Make it two-and-a-half free meals a week. We get good sandwiches, nothing too fancy, so I’d say they’re a 7. And sometimes it’s not a full meal, but coffee and snacks etc.

What other internships did you apply for?

I applied for Congresswoman Chu, CSIC and Brookings Institute.

Why did you choose WITA?

I guess because it’s more related to my econ major, and I didn’t want to do a pure politics internship. It also is much more fun than pure research at an institute.

Who’s the coolest person you’ve had a chance to meet through your organization?

Well, I get to meet Ambassador Ron Kirk, the U.S. Trade Representative next week. He’s cabinet level, and he is in charge of all trade policy and negotiations.

What has been the hardest thing and the best about the transition from Claremont to D.C.?

The hardest thing is that we have much less free time. The best thing is that you really get a chance to see the world. Really… the world is much bigger than Claremont!

What’s your #1 tip for living in D.C.?

Hmmm… I’d say enjoy working!!

Any final comments?

Oh yes! For any IR majors, the embassies in D.C. do hire interns, but they don’t post any information publically. So, if you want to work for any embassy you can contact them directly to apply for a position.

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