Internships & Fellowships
Office of International Relations (OIR) International Exchange Internship:
As the world’s largest museum, research, and education complex, delivering on the mission of the Smithsonian Institution is a truly global effort. Not only does the Smithsonian’s nearly-universal scope of study extend beyond the borders of the United States, but its community of experts, educators, and researchers comprises both U.S. and international team members working in tandem to further the Institution’s mission of the “increase and diffusion of knowledge.”
The Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations (OIR) serves as the central point of contact for institution-wide advice, insight, analysis, and coordination of international activities, advancing the Smithsonian’s mission by leveraging research, creativity, and expertise of the entire Smithsonian to push for greater reach, develop further relevance, and deliver profound impact globally. OIR further serves an essential role to foreign nationals joining the institution by providing immigration documents, guiding them through all stages of their cycle of participation, and helping them to navigate the myriad immigration regulations that apply to foreign nationals conducting activities at the Institution. OIR is also the first point of contact for international visiting groups through the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), foreign embassies and consulates, and other international visitor groups requesting access to the Smithsonian’s expertise and resources. OIR is proud to work with hundreds of foreign nationals from dozens of countries each year.
The International Exchange Intern will support our office in its day-to-day functions, specifically supporting our pre-arrival, arrival, and cultural programming functions for foreign nationals at the Smithsonian. The intern will serve primarily in an administrative capacity and will be provided professional development and learning opportunities geared at individuals interested in international education, cultural exchange and communication, and museum studies. We welcome candidates with a range of experiences and backgrounds, though candidates with familiarity and interest in the above topics may find this experience most impactful. The internship will confer intercultural and interpersonal skills and help the intern begin to develop knowledge of immigration concepts, serving as an ideal entry into the field for those interested in a career involving program planning for international populations, non-profits in the international exchange sphere, and those interested in working in international offices at universities, a field in which a familiarity with immigration concepts is often a pre-requisite. The intern will also gain access to a wide network of practitioners and experts across the Smithsonian and will have the opportunity to explore areas of interests.
Illustrative activities of the internship include:
Facilitating pre-arrival immigration documentation and communication, assisting with arrival orientations, helping to provide resources to foreign nationals currently at the Institution, and helping to further alumni engagement efforts.
Facilitating informational webinars for subsets of the wider Smithsonian community involved with welcoming foreign nationals to the Institution, including Smithsonian leadership and staff serving as mentors and coordinators.
Conducting research, creating presentations, preparing for meetings, taking and distributing notes, and reviewing and contributing to written reports.
Attending programming and events aimed at international visitors and exchange participants, including participation in IVLP meetings, museum tours, and other in-person learning opportunities with experts around SI.
Specific projects for Summer 2023 will include the refinement and implementation of a communication strategy for international visitors and exchange participants using automated email software and assistance archiving international exchange and immigration records.
The intern will have an assigned mentor who will provide guidance and oversight throughout the internship. Interns are asked to come to the role with ideas for what they hope to get out of the experience.
Strong working knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite, including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, is essential. Strong candidates will have international or cross-cultural experience and demonstrated interest or experience in museums, cross-cultural programming, or educational exchanges. An excellent command of the English language, as well as strong interpersonal and communication skills, including writing, is required. Previous experience in an office environment is a plus, but not required. Candidates must also be self-motivated, organized, and detail-oriented.
The Summer 2023 internship will run for a minimum of three months beginning in late May or early June at the selected intern’s discretion and is part-time (24 hours per week). OIR office hours typically occur between 9:00am ET and 5:00pm ET, though occasional meetings starting at 8:30am ET may be needed. As the position requires in-person engagement with our foreign nationals, candidates must reside in the DC area during the term of the internship, with the possibility of a hybrid schedule. OIR internships include a stipend and can be taken for university/academic credit.
Please send a resume and personal statement addressed to OIR at InternationalVisitor@si.edu. In your personal statement, please address why you are interested in the internship; any previous professional, educational, or personal experiences that are relevant (especially if not on your resume); and any unique qualities or perspectives you can bring to the internship. Applications must be received by April 15, 2023 to be considered.
For more information on internships and fellowships at the Smithsonian more broadly, please contact the Office of Academic Appointments and Internships.