History & Political Science
- Interned at: The International Law Institute
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-archibald-984761161
Tell us about your internship. What kind of work did you do? What did you find rewarding?
During the program, I had the opportunity to intern with the International Law Institute. The organization is a nonprofit center focused on education and independent research in the realm of global development. Their primary mission is to bring dignitaries, officials, managers, etc. from developing countries to Washington, D.C. to learn from local experts on a myriad of subjects relevant to state building and development. Some of the projects I was involved closely with were the seminars focused on Contract Drafting and Administration and International Arbitration. My work mainly consisted of assisting the faculty and program administrators with assembling the seminar materials and helping participants have a productive experience at ILI. This involved creating and formatting material, as well as attending site visits alongside the participants. I was also able to attend classes of interest to me and audit them in order to enrich my learning as well as bond with the participants. Being able to meet with people from all around the world and exchanging views and information on various global issues was extremely rewarding. Getting to know new perspectives as well as learning from both them and the faculty gave me a very strong and practical handle on several facets of international development. Going forward, i feel I am a far stronger contender to enter that field of work and be successful.
Have your career or life goals changed as a result of your internship? If so, how?
In some ways, my life goals have changed, and in others they were solidified or made more clear. Before the program, I had thought generally about entering the FBI or intelligence services after law school, or working for the Department of Defense. After completing the internship, my determination to go to law school remains as strong as ever, and has grown, though now to enter the field of international law. After the rewarding experiences of meeting with the participants and learning about international development, I became sure that the path I had set out on would be the one for me. I was able to work in an environment that combined my two career aspirations, law, and international affairs, and showed me a concrete path that made my aspirations possible. Overall, the Washington Program has helped set a direction for my life and set the fire in my heart to pursue it wholeheartedly.
Share an exciting memory from your internship about something unexpected that happened while you were in D.C
The most exciting memory from my internship was being able to attend a high profile event as the Director’s guest. With recent developments in the US Supreme Court, the international development banks are coming under challenge in regards to their legal sovereignty when operating in nations. In exchange for helping her set up the event in her apartment, I was able to attend and meet with the top legal counsels of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, and Caribbean Development Bank. Having had the opportunity to network, and have conversations with these officials was a surreal moment that still strikes me with disbelief that it occurred. Debating legal issues with some of the world’s top development lawyers gave even more vigor to my desire to enter the world of international development and find success. Knowing I could comfortably converse with them gave me confidence my feelings of belonging in that world are well founded.
Did your internship lead to any opportunities?
In the short term, I did not receive any job offers, though was able to secure several letters of recommendation as well as an opportunity to return to the ILI should I find myself back in D.C.
While you were in D.C. did you go on any special trips or visit any monuments that stood out to you?
I think the two trips that stood out most for me were a visit to Mount Vernon and the opportunity to observe oral arguments in the Supreme Court. Mount Vernon indulged the history lover in me and provided a great chance to see a small part of Virginia. The manor was in excellent shape and a well preserved piece of history. The estate itself was also beautiful and full of plenty of interesting sights and greenery. In the Supreme Court, hearing oral arguments as well as getting closer to the justices has been a dream of mine since AP Government in high school. Observing some of the nation’s best Constitutional Scholars debate attorneys and one another motivated me in a way of reminding why I wanted to go to law school. I aspire to have as sharp a legal mind as the justices and put that mind to use doing good for others around the globe through legal development.
How has living in the nation's capital for a quarter changed you?
Living in the nation’s capital has given me a greater appreciation for time and impressed upon me the importance of efficiency as well as thoroughness. Living in such a fast paced environment took some getting used to, though it kept me accountable in my work and keeping up to date on happenings both domestically and internationally. I became more informed to keep pace with my colleagues and those around me, a habit that has stuck upon my return to California. I have also become much more confident and comfortable with networking. Approaching individuals is less nerve-wracking and more routine. Returning from D.C., I feel more confident and equipped to make my way in law school and in the work world as a candidate that can effectively market himself as well as back his assertions with a sharp mind and ravenous drive to set himself against the next challenge.
What advice would you give to students entering internships in Washington D.C.?
Probably the best advice I could give for students entering internships is to keep an open mind and ask for what you want. Concerning an open mind, life and the demeanor of the city is much different from back home. Let it sweep you up, welcome the internal examination it may invite, and accept the growth that will come of it. You’ll settle in quickly, and once you relax, the world is your oyster. On the second point, the path that led to me in the room with some of the world’s top development lawyers started with an email to the Director and a request to learn more. That email led to me attending a conference on the Asian Development Bank’s updated mission goals for 2019, and an introduction to their General Counsel. It led to lunch where my supervisor told me her life story and gave me great advice in networking and what the development world was like. That began the relationship that led me to diving even deeper into this world and that party in early November. Taking initiative and showing drive is gutsy, possibly terrifying, but one of the most impressive things a supervisor will remember you by. One conversation can open so many doors. Take your shot and you won’t regret it.