Living the Dream in Costa Rica

by Adam Evans- San José, Costa Rica

With an estimated 1.3 million people earning a bachelor’s degree each year, employers are saying that experience makes a difference in their hiring decisions. Cedarville University is committed to helping students gain discipline-related experience and a critical edge in the job search. Junior Adam Evans' internship took him all the way to Costa Rica where he serves with the U.S. Embassy. Read his story.

"I always dreamed of working overseas, using my Spanish language skills, helping people in some form or another. But I didn’t think that dream would be realized so quickly.

When I applied for an internship with the U.S. State Department in the spring of 2007, I didn’t really expect to hear back. Imagine my surprise when, at the beginning of the summer, I received an email from the U.S. Embassy in San José, Costa Rica, offering me a fall internship in the Consular section. The Consular section deals with American citizen services as well as tourist and immigration visas for foreigners traveling to the United States.

At first, I thought the offer was based on my past overseas experience, or on my knowledge of Spanish, or maybe even on my interest in working in government one day … but none of these reasons proved true. The State Department chose me for the internship simply because of my technical communication major.

Basically, the Embassy is very interested in utilizing my language, design and wordsmith skills to serve the Consular section. My tasks vary, but while in Costa Rica I write messages, news releases and updates to be sent out to the local American community. I will also work with U.S. citizens in prison in San José and could, potentially, be writing a small manual outlining the rights of Americans in prison and explaining the steps they need to take to be released or extradited to the U.S.

As one of the first interns at Embassy San José to boast a technical communication major, the benefits are proving to exceed even my own expectations. I assist the Embassy staff in daily publications and serve as all around office editor. Almost any form of literature that the Consular section produces passes through my hands before going on to the intended audience. In the event of a natural disaster or emergency, I am currently drafting messages to be sent to the American citizens that are registered residents of Costa Rica.

I was able to sit in on a State Head meeting where Embassy department heads briefed each other on current events in Costa Rica. Another highlight was attending an evening reception at the Ambassador’s Residence, followed the next night by a send-off party for a staff member. The Embassy invited all newcomers to get better acquainted with the staff.

In November, I will attend the Marine Corps Ball, which is held in downtown San José in honor of the Marines that stand guard at the Embassy gates. And future travel plans include seeing the rainforest, active volcanoes and the sea turtle migration.

The experience is tremendous. Mingling with diplomats, shaking hands with the Ambassador, and writing ‘sensitive but unclassified’ materials are just a few perks to being on the inside of an Embassy looking out.

It’s a very exciting opportunity, and I’m doing my best to take advantage of every moment."