ITED Washinton DC Semester & U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA)
My immersive professional learning experience has impacted me positively in several ways. First, I had an opportunity through my summer and fall internships at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) to gain experience in the work I expect to be doing in the coming years as I launch and build my new professional career.
In my summer internship, I supported a team of International Trade Analysts in investigations of U.S. industries’ claims that foreign enterprises were importing products into the U.S. at prices below fair market value, a practice known as “dumping” By assisting with these anti-dumping investigations, I gained or enhanced knowledge and skills. For example, I deepened my understanding of how U.S. trade laws are applied in investigations of unfair trade practices and how tariff duties are applied to foreign firms when dumping is determined to be occurring. I honed my research, analytical, and writing skills by investigating new and existing claims and writing summary memos of them for my supervisors. I also learned to speak in the vocabulary used in U.S. and international trade regulations so I could communicate more effectively with my colleagues.
In the fall, I interned with the Trade Promotion Programs office and learned how International Trade Specialists work with their counterparts in domestic and international field offices to help U.S. companies identify foreign buyers, distributors, and investors to expand their business overseas. I gained knowledge of market sector research and trade assistance programs offered by ITA, including international trade shows and conferences, as well as trade missions led by high-level U.S. officials.
Through this internship, I acquired or added to skills and abilities in the areas of lead generation, market research, client service, and customer relationship management (e.g. by using Salesforce). Most rewarding of all, I had the opportunity to take over the lead role in developing the plan for a trade mission to Nigeria and Kenya, which included planning and coordinating with senior officers in my office and with foreign commercial service officers at U.S. embassies in those countries.
Lastly, the fall semester in the Washington DC component of the ITED program gave me an excellent opportunity to explore the breadth of firms and types of work available in the international trade field. This includes jobs focused on export promotion activities, trade law enforcement and compliance, data and statistical analysis, research and writing, and conference and event management. By interacting with professionals working in these types of trade roles and others, I gained useful insights on the knowledge, skills, and abilities they have acquired and used as practitioners to build successful careers.
These experiences have helped me focus my job search and develop a professional development plan. They also allowed me to start building a network of professional contacts working in the international trade field who can be helpful as I search for employment and begin my career. Finally, I learned how to balance my school and work commitments and prioritize my time.