An Internship at the US Embassy in Luxembourg: Alex Perez and Michael Barr

This article is part of a series of interviews with MUDEC students who interned abroad in Spring 2020. Although COVID-19 cut short their study abroad experience, some internships were completed online.

MUDEC has built a close relationship with the U.S. Embassy over the years and was very fortunate when the Embassy offered internships to two MUDEC students during the Spring 2020 semester: Alex Perez, a junior majoring in Diplomacy and Global Politics with a minor in Criminology and first-year student Michael Barr, who is majoring in Diplomacy and Global Politics, and Quantitative Economics. Perez grew up in New Jersey, but now lives in North Carolina, while Barr's sweet home is Alabama.

1. Tell us a little bit about your internships at the U.S. Embassy and how they have changed since you returned to the United States.

Alex Perez

Alex: I interned with the Public Affairs Section. Weekly, I commuted from Differdange, where I lived with my host family, into Luxembourg City where the Embassy is located. While I was there, I provided editorial assistance to the FEST (Festival of English-Language School Theatre) briefing memo, reviewed a cable on the Battle of the Bulge and completed photography for MSG, Sergeant Tellez. Since I have been back, I evidently no longer have that access to the Embassy’s system or photograph equipment, yet the team and I have been able to easily communicate and organize projects via email.

Michael Barr

Michael: While I was at the Embassy, I started updating sections of the Embassy's website. I had intended on revamping the Embassy's social media, but that's since become harder. I now do more research-based projects like researching the history and precedent for a direct flight between Luxembourg and the U.S.

2. Why did you want to intern with the Embassy?

Alex: I wanted to intern with the U.S. Embassy to learn how the Embassy tailors messaging to local audiences to accomplish its goals. While I lived in Luxembourg, I was introduced to the culture of Luxembourg but I wanted to be a part of the Embassy to get a more in-depth experience in the local American business in Luxembourg while taking away professionalism and the different roles within the departments. In the end, I hope to further link values between the United States and Luxembourg through my completion of projects.

Michael: I have a deep interest in government and particularly international relations. The Embassy was the perfect place to develop those interests.

3. Why did you want to intern while abroad?

Alex: Every work environment is different. I wanted to intern while abroad because I felt I would be able to learn how an international organization works and advance in professional skills while linking the projects completed to my overall abroad experience.

Michael: I wanted to make sure that my time abroad was not just a fun international vacation, but rather a time and place to pursue unique experiences related to my studies and career goals.

4. What are you most excited about in your internship?

Alex: I am most excited for experiencing and adapting in a new work environment, taking on challenging projects (now virtually) and meeting new professionals. I have been working on projects and researching new topics that I would not regularly do so I am learning a lot about Luxembourg culture and events that are hosted in doing so.

Michael: I am excited to learn more about other countries and their relationships with Luxembourg and the U.S.

5. Why did you choose to study abroad with MUDEC and what are you looking forward to now that you are back in the U.S.?

Alex: I chose to study abroad with MUDEC because I have never been to Luxembourg before, wanted to see what it was like living with a host family and found the location perfect for traveling to other local countries. Now that I am back in the U.S., I am looking forward to further building my relationship with the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy as I have been working with them throughout the semester, although we are no longer face to face.

Michael: MUDEC was the best way for me to see the world and immerse myself deep within other cultures. I'm now looking forward to the Coronavirus being over so that people can stop dying, our health workers can have a break, and our governments can finally overhaul our broken systems so that this doesn't happen again.

6. What is a fun fact that most people don't know about you? 

Alex: Throughout my high school career, I competed internationally for synchronized ice skating competitions but have never made my way to Luxembourg until this year with MUDEC.

Michael: A little known fact about me is that I met MrBeast in Charlotte, North Carolina.