During his time back home in the Netherlands, newly returned resident Burakhan Çevik was interviewed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on his time interning at the Dutch Embassy here in DC, as well as his currents studies and future plans. Below is the interview. Thank you for sharing with us at the House, Burakhan!
How to do an internship with the government.
We interviewed Burakhan Çevik who had a six month internship at the Dutch embassy in Washington.
Can you tell something about yourself?
I’m 24 years old, come from Rotterdam, I studied law and am a true ‘all doer’. I volunteer in swimming lessons to children, homework, and exam training. Furthermore, I have been in India for international social training in the field of development and education of children and I organize debates on social issues. I like sports, I read a lot and I get satisfaction from traveling. I am also trying to finalize a Spanish course.
You had an internship at the Embassy in Washington DC How did you come to that place?
During my studies I often said that I wanted to gain experience abroad to broaden my horizons. Because of my Turkish roots, I soon came up with the idea to do an internship at the Dutch embassy in Turkey. My mother understood my choice for that location, but advised me to just do something totally different, like an internship in the United States. I decided to follow the advice of my mother and my tutor asked whether she had any idea where to start. A colleague of my companion had a few years earlier interned at the Dutch Embassy in Washington DC. Through him I got the contact information. I sent an e-mail with my motivation and resume after some time received a response. That started the ball rolling.
What was your mission there and what kept the work in practice?
“I was an intern at the consular section. In the beginning, I kept mainly on logistics processes, such as passports that came from across the Western Hemisphere at the office. I researched how we could implement them efficiently. Making a mistake is human, but when it comes to passports an error has enormous consequences, such as missing a flight. So I got to understand what creates an embassy the process of inflow and outflow.
Then I tried the Dutch legislation and I made comparisons with the legislation in other countries of the Western Hemisphere such as Haiti, Argentina, Canada and Mexico. So I made the decisions of my colleagues in the department easier.
Researching and compiling this information takes time and patience. Some countries have hardly any information available that you sometimes only get by calling, emailing or visiting the Embassy. In some interviews you visit a consular employee of the respective representation. Sometimes documents are only available in French. Through my contacts with Haiti, I could practice my French once again. I examined several issues, including the type of documents that a country issues (birth certificates, death certificates, etc.) and how long it takes before they are issued. I also did research on questions such as, ‘What happens if a Dutchman dies in Brazil?’ ‘What rules are applicable?’ ‘What documents must be provided to the authorities before the remains can be transported?’
Finally I worked with the detention policy. You can think of assisting and visiting Dutch prisoners abroad – in my case in the US.
What was the highlight of your internship?
The highlight of the internship itself was organizing a conference for all consular staff from Canada, various parts of the United States, the Dominican Republic, Suriname, Mexico and more came to Washington DC to reach alignment with respect to consular work.
Obviously, I made a lot out of my internship. I lived in the International Student House (ISH) where I was included at ISH annual Leadership dinner where I was sitting at the table with Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States. With ISH, I also participated in the farewell ceremony of Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defense, where President Obama gave a speech.
In addition, Washington DC is a dynamic city and if you like international politics, DC is the place. I have made many friends and my international network increases rapidly. Name a country and I know someone who lives there. I speak a lot with my international friends through Skype, post or I’ll find them in their hometown. I also get them to visit Rotterdam where I am proud to show them our beautiful world class harbor.
Now your internship is over. What are your future plans around study / work?
During my internship came the idea of a Masters in International Law in the US. That is soon to begin. After the Masters I would like to work in an international organization like the World Bank, the United Nations or the International Monetary Fund. The most ideal seems to me a position as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Netherlands remains home front and I can apply to the Dutch legislation elsewhere in the world. A perfect combination with work, travel and development come together.
Thanks for the interview Burakhan and good luck with your career!