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Student Spotlight

Read about this month’s International Studies Student Spotlight. Students were asked to share an influential experience they had that connected to their International Studies major or minor.

February 2018

Neil Schwartz

BA International Studies (Political Economy and Development); BA Economics ‘19

Hometown: Mount Laurel, NJ

Affiliations: Governing Board Member, Michigan Hillel; Research Assistant, Institute for Social Research; Chair, CSG Detroit Engagement Subcommission; News Staff Writer, The Michigan Daily; Welcome Liaison, Michigan Refugee Assistance Program

“This past summer, I had the opportunity to see diplomacy in action while interning at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain. It was an unparalleled look into the implementation of U.S. foreign policy in all of its facets, including politically and economically. Specifically, I worked in the consular section that oversees services for American citizens abroad and handles immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the United States. I gained hands-on experience providing assistance to Americans in need for cases such as replacing stolen passports, delivering safety presentations to study abroad groups, and visiting incarcerated Americans in jail. In addition to the incredible responsibilities that I tackled, I also had typical intern duties like making coffee runs and checking in foreign ambassadors to the Embassy's annual 4th of July party.

I'm extremely grateful for my International Studies education because it has provided me with a broader perspective on what it means to make a positive impact on the world. I could clearly communicate with visa applicants using my knowledge of Spanish language and culture. I was also able to apply my cross-cultural cooperation skills when I attended a meeting to coordinate multi-embassy security efforts for World Pride Week in June. Reflecting on my summer, I attribute my seamless transition working abroad to the global understandings of leadership and action that the International Studies curriculum provides for each student.”

Future plans: “While navigating the International Studies major, I've discovered a passion for political and economic development. I want to fuse my knowledge of economic theory and my understanding of various political systems to promote better access to public goods like education and healthcare in underprivileged areas. I hope to work with a humanitarian mission next summer in assisting locals to build sustainable institutions for long-run improvements in their communities. Down the line, I hope to attend law school to apply my mission for economic equity within a global and legal context.”

Read about past International Studies Student Spotlights: