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Keeping up with Altmans: A Summer in Indonesia

July 08, 2019 9:30 PM

Alex awaiting the arrival of the U.S. Secretary of Defense in Indonesia

Alex awaiting the arrival of the Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense

As part of the U.S. State Department student intern program, Alex Duffy of the 2021 cohort is working as an intern this summer at the U.S. Embassy Jakarta in Jakarta, Indonesia. She took a few moments out of her busy schedule to tell us more about what her internship entails:

“I work in the Public Affairs Section in the Information Office. I am on the print media team, but I also work closely with the broadcast media team. Both these teams serve many roles but they ultimately work to engage with the media and promote the messaging and strategic priorities of the Embassy to the public. The Embassy is located in Central Jakarta just across from Merdeka Square, home to Indonesia’s national monument, Monas.
 Jakarta skyline from the top of Monas, the national monument

Jakarta skyline from the top of Monas, the national monument

“My position includes a variety of responsibilities but some key tasks and projects I am working on include editing the Daily Press Summary—an edited compilation of news articles and stories from both Indonesian and foreign news sources relating to relations between the U.S. and Indonesia; staffing press events—highlights include supporting and managing the traveling Pentagon press during Acting Secretary of Defense (at the time) Patrick Shanahan’s visit to Jakarta, assisting the Cultural Office in managing a formal reception during the visit of Assistant Secretary for Education and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, supporting Public Affairs staff to manage press at a U.S.-Indonesia culinary collaboration dinner event, and delivering remarks at a Youth Exchange and Study welcome dinner for recently arrived American high school students spending a year in Indonesia; I also drafted a cable report on the Mission’s comprehensive outreach efforts during the month of Ramadan and have written and edited content for the Digital Platform, which is a site that showcases the U.S.-Indonesia bilateral relationship in honor of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
"I always had an interest in pursuing a career in the public sector, as well as a desire to travel as part of my future career. I applied for this internship to not only to better understand work in the U.S. government in general, but more specifically to gain insight into the life of a Foreign Service Officer.

Alex in front of the crater at Mt. Bromo

Alex in front of the crater at Mt. Bromo

"Things have been busy this summer—both at work and personally. Being in the press office there is constant activity, and I have learned so much just by taking in the flurry of events, meetings, and news coverage. I have also been traveling as much as possible. So far, I have visited the 1000 islands of the North coast of Jakarta, tasted abounding street food during my trip to Penang, Malaysia, made my way all the way to Perth, Australia. I hiked Mt. Bromo and Mt. Ijen in East Java and have upcoming plans to visit Singapore and Bali. During all my travels, both inside and outside the city, I have been sampling the diverse array of Indonesian cuisine. I have enjoyed getting to know the other American interns, as well as the Indonesian staff on my team. It's been a great summer so far, and I know it will be hard to say goodbye!”

Alex is a recipient of the Altman Program Summer Internship Award. She will spend ten weeks in Indonesia before heading to Colombia for the first semester of her junior year abroad.