Melton embarks on embassy internship

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Emily Melton is having the summer of her life.

The 2011 Charles Henderson High School graduate and rising senior at the University of Alabama is an intern at the British Embassy to the United States in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Washington D.C.

Melton, who is majoring in Marketing and Management and plans to pursue a career in Human Resource Management after graduation, found a posting for the internship online and it immediately sparked her interest.

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“I had seen so many internships in all different parts of the country, but this one seemed like it would be an incredible learning experience where I would get to do real work instead of just fetching coffee,” Melton said. “I submitted my resume, had a few interviews, and found out I got the internship all within a very short amount of time. It was a bit of a whirlwind.”

In whirlwind fashion, Melton found a place to live, got packed and took care of any unfinished business at home or school. She said goodbye to her parents and boarded the plane that would take her to Washington D.C. and a great summer adventure.

At the Embassy, Melton works in the Human Resources Department as the Recruiting and Employee Relations Intern.

“I help with current recruitments for jobs in the embassy and consulates across America, work to keep the interns at the embassy engaged and informed, and complete various other tasks for the HR department,” she said. “Working at the embassy is incredible. There are so many opportunities to learn and grow. Hearing the ambassador, Sir Peter Westmacott, give updates on pressing world issues, visiting the Residence, and listening to government officials from around the world talk about current events in their regions are all in a week’s work.”

Melton works with people from around the world. The opportunity to get international experience on her resume without having to leave the states will be an incredible value, she said.

“I’m learning to work through and appreciate cultural differences, which is vital for anyone in the workplace but especially for someone in Human Resources,” Melton said.

“I’ve worked in HR over summer breaks before, but this internship is teaching me so much more about global human resources. Managing across cultures is a hard skill to learn inside the classroom, and I’ve gotten some great hands-on experience here at the embassy.”

Working in Human Resources, Melton has opportunities to meet people from different departments and finds daily interactions with co-workers very interesting.

“Every employee has an incredible story to tell, and it’s so great to hear everyone’s journey to the embassy,” she said adding that the working environment at the Embassy is quite different from what she expected.

“The working environment is incredibly flexible and collaborative. Administration is very concerned about the learning and development of employees. Therefore, there are tons of exciting ways to develop as an employee working in the Foreign Service.

“I work in an open plan office, so I’m face-to-face with my managers at all times of the day. I choose my own hours, so I come in the mornings at 7:30 and that allows me to leave at 4 p.m. and get some sightseeing in.”

Melton takes every opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of D.C. and savor the flavor of the city.

She lives in a row home in Georgetown with three other summer interns, from Chicago, Philadelphia and a small town in Maryland. All four work in different organization and enjoy sharing their job experiences.

“Georgetown is a historic, quaint part of the District and has a college-town feel that reminds me of home,” Melton said.

“I love the cobblestone roads, the old streetcar tracks and the beautiful row homes. And, Georgetown has the best shopping – everything a shopper could want.”

Georgetown is an expensive place to live but there are many free things for interns to do.

“People call D.C. Intern City during the summer, because there are so many events and specials catered to interns,” Melton said. “My favorite things to do in the District are hanging out at the Georgetown Waterfront Park, visiting the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, and watching World Cup matches with people from all over the world.”

Melton has already gained much from her time at the embassy, from managing 12 simultaneous recruitments to establishing a weekly newsletter for interns.

“I’ve been given some incredible opportunities and responsibilities,” she said. “I might return to school in the fall with a new career path in mind.”