Investigative Team Internship in Argentina

By: Fiona Lighthiser

Investigative Team Internship in Argentina

For my first internship ever, I learned how my degree, Global Affairs, can be applied to the real world. Through classwork at Mason, I have learned the context of global issues and the theories used to analyze them, but it is not easy to gain practical experiences in such settings. This fall I spent two months in Buenos Aires, Argentina working as an intern on the investigation team for Directorio Legislativo, a civil society organization based in Argentina and the United States that works to strengthen democratic institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. During my time I provided translation services; collected data from a variety of sources; wrote reports, newsletters, and updates on current events across Latin America; and developed and presented a presentation about the functioning of the United States government and the annual federal budget, the recent removal and election of the speaker of the house, and the implications congressional polarization has on the 2024 presidential elections as well as U.S. foreign policy and Latin America. My success with these projects stemmed from the assignments in my Global Affairs classes—the reports and newsletters I wrote had a similar format to the memorandums from my CONF 340 class; the analysis format I used to analyze the effects on foreign policy for my final presentation was similar to the format my professor used for GOVT 322, and the context regarding international cooperation, governmental functioning, global events, etc. I had coming into my internship all came from Mason coursework and GLOA 101. As I resume my coursework back on campus, my expertise from this fall will have a heavy influence. Not only will I have more motivation to participate and be involved as much as I can in my classes and coursework, because I see more clearly what I am working towards, but I have developed a greater sense of what aspect of Global Affairs I want to focus on. Through working and connecting with my coworkers, immersing myself in Argentine culture, and getting a glimpse of what it is like to live in Buenos Aires, in addition to my previous experiences in Ecuador and Cuba, I have become very passionate about focusing my studies and career path on Latin America. Although I do not know exactly where this passion will lead me in the industry, I believe the remaining semesters at Mason will provide me with the resources to find my direction.