Erica Bell

Embassy of Ecuador

I have now been studying Spanish for three years, and I'm going on exchange to Madrid next semester. I thought that this internship would be a wonderful opportunity to improve my Spanish comprehension and my confidence in speaking. I also study International Relations, and have a strong interest in Latin American culture, history and politics, so the chance to gain an insight into international diplomacy and the current political issues facing Ecuador was very exciting. Additionally, it's going to look great on my CV.

This program gave me the opportunity to make a number of valuable contacts in the Latin American diplomatic missions in Australia, in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and in a number of other Federal departments. It also gave me experience in understanding how the day-to-day practicalities, mechanisms and protocols of international diplomacy and trade negotiations proceed. The potential applications of this knowledge are not limited to a career in foreign affairs: international organisations, NGOs, government bodies, and a wide range of other organisations have to liaise with diplomatic missions to promote their work, and understanding how they operate will enhance my employability across a wide field of possible career pathways.

This internship helped to advance my Spanish speaking, comprehension, reading and writing, particularly in writing and translating formal communiqués and in using the day-to-day Spanish in the context of the workplace. It also gave me valuable insights into the importance of networking and human connection in advancing any political enterprise, and into the protocols and highly codified social norms employed within diplomatic channels.

Highlight: The highlights of my experience included attending an Quechua celebration of the Winter Solstice for NAIDOC week, organised by the Ecuadorian Embassy, which allowed me to learn a lot about indigenous culture and history in Ecuador. I was also very lucky to be able to help organise Ecuador's entry into the Pacific Alliance by coordinating meetings between a number of delegation leaders at the forthcoming Summit meeting, and to help coordinate Ecuador's extension of formal diplomatic ties to Fiji.

Advice: I would definitely recommend participating in the Latin American Embassy internship program! Take advantage of any opportunity offered to make connections, to participate in the Embassy's work, and to learn about the country's history and current social, political and economic issues.



Bachelor of Arts