Students return from the US Congress

Two Griffith students enjoyed unique access to the US Congress this year as part of an eight week internship program.

Law and Arts student Clare Anderson and Arts student Monique Salm were among only 13 Australians selected for the Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Program 2008.

Through the program the students travelled to Washington DC and were assigned to individual Congressional offices to learn about the legislative process and US/Australian relations.

Clare said the experience was amazing and encouraged other students to consider applying.

“This internship gave me experience in a field I was keen to gain exposure to. I wanted to learn more about the practice of government and to do so in one of the most fast-paced, thrilling environments in the world was fantastic,” Clare said.

“Being placed in a Congressional office exposed me to many important events as they happened. It was an exciting way to be thrown in the deep end of life on Capitol Hill.

“I also gained an important insight into the workings of the US government, and government in general – observing how democratic representatives strive to consider and balance the many competing interests and needs in the work of government.”

The internship strengthened Clare’s interest in pursuing a career in policy development.

She said one of the highlight’s of the internship was attending the State of the Union address press conference.

“There were more than 30 media networks from NBC to Al Jazeera attending to record the responses to the President’s address of each Congressperson or Senator, which were then relayed back to local media in each representative’s District,” Clare said.

“To have the opportunity to be in the thick of the action (or chaos) was thrilling!” Clare said.

Through the internship the students were also involved in constituent liaison, legislative research, US State Department briefings, political dinners and trips to the origins of the American Republic in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, Congress Hall and the National Constitution Centre.

“Both Monique and I would like to thank Griffith for their support which enabled us to pursue this internship,” Clare said.