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I worked at U.S. Department of State as an intern (Less than a year)
Get hands on with policy topics and meet people working in the field of international affairs. You will gain a network and learn what policy making is actually like before entering as a civil or foreign service officer
Your experience will depend upon which office you join and whether or not you are a self-starter. People are very willing to teach you about their policy area of interest however at times the bureaucratic nature of the State Department can be difficult for those coming from the private sector
I applied online. The process took 12+ months. I interviewed at U.S. Department of State (Washington, DC) in September 2021.
The interview process is exactly like what they tell you in the Information Sessions the Dept. of State conducts each month. If you get waitlisted for an interview or schedule an interview, you should get invited to this and attend. The process took me 6 hours, and although they say you can bring food, they don't tell you when you are allowed to eat the food, so take initiative and eat when you have a few minutes between the different parts of the interview. Otherwise, you might starve and do poorly on the interview.