Grant Smaellie interned at the National Defense University where he put his historical knowledge to the test. He learned how crucial it is to know about people and who they are--including their differences--which made his job successful.
During my internship, I worked in the International Student Management Office where I worked with foreign military officers of varying ranks from all over the world to adjust to living in the United States and studying at the university.
These responsibilities included finding and creating partnerships with apartment complexes, creating debit card accounts, managing visa and driver license status with the U.S. State Department, while also creating and planning monthly excursions for the students to other regions of the country such as Montana, Texas, and Boston, MA. These trips were designed to provide the students with a greater perspective on American culture, identity and policy on a wide array of issues.
The most useful thing I learned was the unique and crucial role that diplomatic relations play for the nation’s progress. While this office was only a small entity under the immense umbrella of the Department of Defense, our daily interactions and relationships with these individuals build a positive and trusting link, which is then used to strengthen the bond between the two countries’ governments and militaries.
I am a history major at BYU and while knowing trends, patterns and details helped with my foundation, it was the knowledge that the effort to understand someone or a people who are different than you makes a great deal of difference. My study and my professors in my classes have shown me that. I gathered new skills concerning online databases such as Microsoft Access as we used them to organize a great deal of data. In addition, I became more proficient with the workings, traditions and benefits of a professional working atmosphere outside of the classroom.