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Mari Carmen Martinez Lands Dept. of Commerce Summer Internship in Belgium

Mari Carmen Martinez in Belgium on the 4th of JulyThis past summer, Senior International Studies and International Development major Mari Carmen Martinez landed a plum, highly competitive Dept. of Commerce internships in Belgium helping U.S. company’s export to Belgium and to promote U.S. business interests in the European Union. The internship was at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. The position was unpaid, volunteer internships but interns may receive academic credit from their educational institution.

“This internship was incredibly valuable to my future career,” Martinez said. “Working at an embassy is not your typical internship experience. I am glad that I did an internship with Commerce because I had the opportunity to learn how it functions and its key role in the embassy. I met many incredible people from different agencies and sectors with very interesting work backgrounds. They gave me an outlook of their role in the embassy, and they gave me a lot of personal and professional advice,” she said.

Internship: U.S. Commercial Services

The U.S. Commercial Services assists U.S. exporters entering the Belgian market and helps Belgian firms in their efforts to collaborate with American companies. With two minors in economics and finance, Martinez was in a perfect spot to help collect and analyze information for market research reports; respond to inquiries from U.S. exporters and Belgium buyers or distributors; and, assist in the organization of trade events and trade missions and content for Commercial Service website.

U.S. Mission to the European Union

During her internship, she was asked to also help out at the U.S. Mission to the European Union. She assisted CSEU’s mission to promote U.S. business interests in the European Union through advocacy, information dissemination and cooperation with other Commercial Service posts throughout Europe and the world.

Distinguished Diplomat Program Inspires Martinez

Martinez first learned about the internship opportunity through the Center for International Studies 2019 Distinguished Diplomat Lecturer Ambassador Anne Patterson. The University’s Distinguished Diplomat Lecture and Program institutionalized nearly four decades of the Center for International Studies’ advocacy for the closer union of the peoples of the world through American leadership and diplomacy.

“Bringing these former VIP ambassadors to UST is vital to inspiring our students toward careers in government service,” Prof. Rick Sindelar, director of the DDP at UST, said. “The DDP served as the platform for Mari Carmen’s interest in diplomacy, government service and internships in the field.”

Martinez, who was born in Mexico City and speaks Spanish wanted to study in a major with an international focus, because of her multi-cultural background. She felt that mixing it with business degrees was a good fit for her.

Study Abroad/Internships Shapes Martinez’ Goals

Martinez, who is interested in diplomacy and becoming a Foreign Service Officer, is keen on internships and study abroad. She felt she was able to land these latest internships because she went on the UST study abroad to Poland, interned in Washington D.C. and took a study abroad trip to Madrid.

“After I interned in Washington D.C., I decided to focus my major more in politics and diplomacy,” she said. “I may even go to graduate school in D.C. or New Yorik City.”

“It is not easy to go and work in another country with another language and living alone, but honestly, those have been the times where I have grown and learned,” Martinez said. “That is why I try to always go out of my way to attain different perspectives and to challenge myself.”

The highlights of Martinez’s Belgium internship was “casually running into the ambassador, meeting high-level officials and people in the military, editing briefings or speeches and attending defense industry events where I was one of the few women in the room,” she said. “That was really empowering for me because, hey, girl power.”