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Internship Program

Situated on Capitol Hill, USAI internships give students a unique opportunity to experience international affairs

The US-Asia Institute (USAI) is a United Nations-associated non-governmental organization located in the heart of Washington, D.C. Our mission is to encourage dialogue and understanding between the people and governments of the United States and nations of Asia.

Since its inception in 1979, USAI has hosted an internship program for students who are interested in Asian affairs. The Institute selects two to four undergraduates, recent graduates, or graduate students during the summer, winter/spring, and fall terms. The duration of the internship is approximately two to three months, with the possibility of extension. Internships are unpaid.

The USAI Internship Program gives students a unique opportunity for hands-on experience in the field of U.S.-Asian affairs. Throughout the internship, students will play an active role in organizing educational programming, overseas Congressional staff delegations, forums, receptions, and diplomatic off-the-record briefings. Students will also be expected to represent the Institute at Congressional hearings, think-tank briefings, and other networking events in the D.C. area.

The intent of USAI internships is to supplement academic scholarship with a pragmatic program that deals with the realities of the political process in international policy development.

Featured above, Fall 2017 interns tour the Capitol.


Job Descriptions & Qualifications

USAI seeks highly motivated undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students with a strong interest in U.S.-Asia relations. We seek individuals possessing strong writing, organizational, and communication skills.

To apply for our internship program, please submit your resume, a cover letter detailing when you are available to intern at the Institute (proposed start and end dates, and day-to-day availability), a plan of objectives, a brief description of your future academic and professional goals, and a short writing sample (about 2 pages).

Foreign applicants are encouraged to apply for internships. Appropriate required visa is the responsibility of individual applicants.

In the image above, 2015 Summer Interns attend the US-Asia Institute's annual reception with the Mongolian Embassy.

Political Affairs Intern:

The main responsibilities of the Political Affairs Intern will be organizing events and Congressional delegations to Asia and assisting with the daily operations of the office. Other responsibilities include representing USAI at briefings and congressional hearings and corresponding with legislative staff, as well as researching and writing reports on current issues related to U.S.-Asia relations.

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, as demonstrated in the phone interview and the cover letter/writing sample
  • Excellent organizational skills and proven ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Self-motivated and independent
  • Familiarity with various Asian countries through academic studies or professional experiences strongly preferred
  • Knowledge of another East Asian or Southeast Asian language a plus
  • Excellent research and writing skills

“The best part about interning at USAI is the hands-on experience and training we got from being directly involved in the various program from the start to the end.” – Doris, 2018 “One of my favorite parts of the internship was the wide array of activities and programs that we helped organize and execute. From putting on 101 briefings to meeting with Congressmen on the Rule of Law program to hosting the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, I was never bored with the work, and I appreciated getting the chance to connect with people from myriad different fields and organizations.” – Evan, 2018 “Beyond the irreplaceable joy of working with such a generous, talented, and driven group of people, my favorite part of this internship was knowing that I made my first contributions to developing strong relations between the United States and Asia at the US-Asia Institute. It is cliché, and often over-used, but as an intern at USAI, you truly make a difference.” – Axel, 2018

Communications Intern:

Responsibilities: The Communications Intern will be responsible for managing the website, exploring and expanding on the Institute’s social media presence, producing brochures and newsletters, as well as assisting with the daily operations of the office. The intern will also work closely with the Political Affairs Intern in attending meetings, organizing events, seeking grants, and corresponding with Hill staff.

  • Background and experience in website management and design
  • Familiarity working with WordPress
  • Experience with Microsoft Office Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • Experience with different social media platforms
  • Execellent writing and organizational skills
  • Familiarity with various Asian countries through academic studies or professional experiences strongly preferred

“My favorite thing about the internship: THE PEOPLE. I have learned so much talking with people around Capitol Hill and working with USAI staff. The collaborative and supportive office environment at USAI makes work all the more fun!” – Emily, 2018 “As an intern as USAI, I love how a lot of the projects we work on are team-oriented, but you still have individual responsibility to complete specific tasks. Every day at USAI is different, and I felt like I got to have ownership over a variety of tasks and projects. I loved getting to meet so many influential people over the summer through USAI events and connections.” – Laurel, 2018

Rule of Law Intern:

(Available during the summer term, only when advertised)
Duties: The Rule of Law Intern will manage the USAI Rule of Law Program. This involves corresponding with legislative staff, scheduling meetings, acting as the liaison between Chinese Fellows and American policymakers.

  • Proven ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Professionalism and strong time management skills
  • Experience managing a team
  • Command of Chinese and American cultures
  • Command of Mandarin (Preferred)

“What I’ve enjoyed most about this internship has been both the warmth and supportiveness of the office environment, and the interactions and opportunities for cultural and epistemological exchange which USAI’s various programs have afforded me. USAI’s wide range of programs have allowed me to interact with people from many different countries in Asia, and from a wide range of professional and educational backgrounds. I doubt many other internship programs provide interns with anywhere near this much exposure. It has been tremendously helpful for thinking about future career directions.” – Nate, 2018

Internship Periods and Application Deadlines

While the dates for the internships’ duration are somewhat flexible, the deadlines are not. You are welcome to apply to all internship positions at your personal discretion.

Winter/Spring Term: January 10 – May 10
Deadline: November 1

Summer Term: May 15 – August 15
Deadline: April 1

Fall Term: September 1 – December 10
Deadline: July 1

Please send your application materials (cover letter, resume, and a 2-page writing sample) to the following email, and please allow 2-3 weeks after the deadline for us to review your application. Please also include your potential start date. Your start date may impact the type of work and projects you are able to work on, so please give the earliest possible date that will work for you.

Internship Coordinator Madeline Clough,

If you prefer to fax or mail your application, please use the information below:

Fax: (202) 747-5889 Address: Madeline Clough, 232 East Capitol St. NE, Washington, DC 20003

**NOTE: International students must have a student visa throughout the entirety of their internship at the US-Asia Institute**