Internship Opportunity: Thai American National Internship Program
The Thai American National Internship Program (TANIP) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Thai American students to gain a firsthand look at the American government and political system in Washington DC, and to reflect on the role they, as future leaders, might play in strengthening the Thai-U.S. relationship.
In 2015, the Royal Thai Embassy initiated a program to provide Thai-American youth with the opportunity to intern/shadow in various offices at the national level. This experience helps to develop a stronger understanding of how government operates by experiencing it from an insider’s perspective. The program prepares young leaders to participate in the political/legislative/policy arenas and is dedicated to developing skills of individuals who are interested in public service. Not only is this an invaluable professional experience, but it also benefits the Thai community by increasing the interest of Thais in American politics in the future.
Sponsored by the Royal Thai Embassy, in consultation with the US-Asia Institute, the program is organized annually to provide the opportunity for a minimum of eight (8) Thai American students to come to Washington D.C. from late May to July to get hands-on experience in the policymaking process. During the first week orientation, students would get an inside look at how government works, hearing from Washington policymakers and influencers who play key roles in the American political system. Following orientation, the students would visit key institutions across Washington including The Capitol, Federal agencies, and the Supreme Court; area think tanks; associations; and businesses. They would attend congressional and judicial proceedings, briefings on topics of interest, and meet many key participants, policy makers and influencers (including lawmakers, Administration officials, lobbyists, educators, journalists and others). On weekends, they would explore the national capital area, including landmarks and historic, educational and cultural events, and interact with other Americans and foreign nationals in a wide range of social settings.
The students would be paired with various offices/individuals across Washington as determined, in a short-term professional development “shadowing” or internship component. This will help facilitate understanding of how government works and provide insight into topics of interest and concern in the Thai-U.S. relationship and other areas. The students will also spend one week at the Royal Thai Embassy gaining hands-on experience in a consular setting and learning more about Thai-US relations from that perspective.
Participants may be asked to participate in a briefing on Thailand and topics of interest vis-à-vis the bilateral and regional relationship with the United States. Though the students are not experts on the issue, they are in a unique position of having ancestral ties to Thailand and a better understanding of cultural nuances in the relationship. They will be asked to write a short analysis on the experience. We firmly believe that those chosen for the program have a role to play in informing U.S. policy influencers and others about their country and areas of interest.
Format: The program includes one week of orientation where students will be introduced to how the American government works through a series of meetings with policy makers and influencers from government, business, academia and the diplomatic community. The student will spend a week interning at the Royal Thai Embassy to gain insight into that perspective on Thai-U.S. relations. They will then be placed in shadowing/internship positions for six weeks of hands-on experience.
Expenses: Students are responsible for all expenses related to the program to include travel to Washington DC and return to home location; housing (click here for a list of available housing options); food; ground transportation throughout the program; and cultural and spending money. All participants must, after acceptance into the program, show proof of health insurance. Scholarships will be available to defray part of the costs of the program with amount to be determined.
1. Candidate qualifications
- Age 18-25 years old
- An undergraduate degree OR enrolled as a full-time, upper level (3rd/4th year) student in good academic standing
- US citizenship
- Leadership ability and good interpersonal skills
- Record of community services
2. Required documents:
The application process for this program will begin in November. Candidates can obtain an application form by visiting the Royal Thai Embassy website at www.thaiembdc.org
Other required documents:
- Statement of Intent and Impact
- A copy of most recent transcript
- A copy of ID, passport or other official document as proof of US citizenship
- A copy of parent’s ID, passport or any official document as proof of Thai citizenship of the candidate’s parent (s)
- A copy of voter registration card
- At least one letter of recommendation from a community service organization, preferably a Thai American organization
1) A selection committee comprised of qualified individuals from the US-Asia Institute, the Thai Embassy and other sources will consider the applications and the qualified candidates will be contacted directly for a phone or video conference interview with the selection committee.
2) The successful candidates will be contacted directly and the results will be announced publicly on Royal Thai Embassy’s websites and the program’s websites.
For more information, contact the Royal Thai Embassy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-298-4799
TANIP Alumni Experiences
Charles Tantakool, Washington University
Lennox Chaiveera, University of California, Berkley
Apisra Srivanich-Raper, the College of Idaho
Sophiaya Chacon-Hyder, Los Angeles City College
Alit Ponkaew, Northern Illinois University
Justin Cobkit, University of Georgia
Ella Duangkaew, University of Pennsylvania
Surapoj Pochanatwong, University of North Texas
Chakapong Soundara, George Mason University
Natchaya May Vutrapongvatana, New York University