There’s no telling where being a Bruin can take you

Perhaps this won’t come as a surprise, but summer is by far my favorite season. The weather is beautiful (as it is year round in SoCal), the days are longer, and the water is warm. But as much as I love to sit by the beach, the best part of summer as a college student is the incredible potential for internships offered specifically to students looking to learn more and prepare for life after college. Over the summer, students take both unpaid and paid internships in organizations all over the globe. Thus, students are able to learn more about career paths they’re interested in, network, and gain experience that will help them in moving into full-time employment after graduation. This summer, I have had the wonderful opportunity to be part of the Los Angeles Consular Corps cohort.

With options in every field across the world, the process of finding an internship can seem incredibly daunting, especially for a person who doesn’t know exactly what they want to study or what career path they’ll take. I know exactly how that feels – I came into UCLA as an undeclared student and did not officially declare my major until winter quarter of my junior year. As I was late choosing a major, it delayed my search for a summer internship, not looking until April of my junior year. While I do not recommend such procrastination, I was extremely fortunate to secure an internship in my field of interest by utilizing the resources afforded to me by the Bruin community.

Last year, I was fortunate to participate on an experiential research travel study program through which I was able to travel to the Middle East and learn more about conflict resolution and diplomacy. As part of that program and the small seminar prior to the trip, I was exposed to different forms of diplomatic work and career options within that field that I was previously unaware of. My professor was an extremely helpful resource in providing guidance on potential career paths and job opportunities based on my interests and involvements. Being involved with such an organization connected me to the head of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, where I have had the pleasure of interning for the summer and assisting with meetings, social media, inter-consular communication, and a host of other projects. On a regular basis, I get to talk to and learn from diplomats, professionals, and leaders in every field and sense of the world.

The path I took may not be the best for everyone, but this opportunity truly reminded me of the incredible value of UCLA’s wide network of students, faculty, and alumni. It has repeatedly been through my connections as a Bruin that I have been able to discover the wonderful opportunities which allow me to apply lessons from the classroom into he real world. Engaging with curriculum both inside the classroom and in a real world setting has made both experiences substantially more valuable and which has allowed me to understand how I can apply the lessons I have learned from my UCLA curriculum in a professional setting.

By securing an internship in your field of interest, you can make the most of your summer break. Be proactive and punctual in your search, be persistent in applying, and put the incredible network of the Bruins to good use! You will never know how many doors will open if you put in the time and effort to research your options. Take the opportunities available to you and make the most of them. As long as you do your best, there’s no telling where being a Bruin could take you.

By Brett S.