William and Mary Law School

Smaller Consulate v. Big Embassy

When I first heard back from the State Department about an internship in Germany, I had my fingers crossed that I would be sent to the embassy in Berlin. I lived in Berlin for a year before law school while working on a Fulbright grant. It is an amazing city, and I was dying to go back. When I heard I was going to be working at the consulate in Hamburg instead, it was bittersweet. I was obviously thrilled to go to Hamburg -- a city that I never had a chance to visit while I was living in Germany -- but I was disappointed that I wouldn't be working at the U.S. Embassy across from the Brandenburger Tor.

In the end, my experience in Hamburg was incredible, and I'm not sure if I would have had as amazing of an experience had I worked in Berlin. Here's some reasons why I found working at a smaller post to be a more rewarding experience:

  • Strong relationships with your supervisors: At the Consulate General in Hamburg, I was able to get to know my supervisors very well and to have them directly monitoring and correcting my work. This gave me the opportunity to learn quickly and receive feedback as to how to improve. In a bigger post, I'm sure I wouldn't have received as much individual attention and would not have had as many learning experiences.
  • More diverse work: Although I was an intern in the political/ economic sector, because Hamburg was such a small post, I was able to do work for other divisions, especially the Public Affairs sector. Although I don't hope to ultimately work in Public Affairs, it was an interesting experience and allowed me to see a different side of work as a foreign service officer.