World of learning: Tommy Lopez
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Class of 2010
- Academic concentration: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; certificates in Latin American studies and Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures
- Hometown: Corpus Christi, Texas
- Summer location: Santiago, Chile
- Activity: internship with the Economic Affairs Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (two months), following a semester of study at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
- Length of stay: six months
- Previous international experience as a Princeton student: internship through the International Internship Program [IIP] with the national workers union in Lima, Peru, followed by French study at the Sorbonne in Paris funded by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (summer 2007); internship with the Institutional Reform Undersecretariat in Buenos Aires, Argentina, through IIP, while also doing research for a Latin American studies project (summer 2008).
Writing from Chile
Why go abroad:
My principal motivation for going abroad was to study for a semester at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. I wanted to have a college experience away from Princeton to catch a glimpse of how other students around the world live and study. My secondary motivation was to complete an internship after the end of the semester in Chile. Working with the Economic Affairs Directorate, I'm learning about the economic affairs of Chile and the region. International economic affairs interested me especially because of the current crisis.
My internship involves two projects. The first is researching international bilateral and multilateral agreements that Chile keeps with other Latin American countries concerning the recognition of university degrees obtained by foreigners who wish to work in Chile. These agreements regulate whether a degree obtained outside of Chile will be recognized in order to pursue a career in Chile. These agreements are antiquated, and my responsibility is to research improvements using agreements from European countries as a model. My second project is examining the bilateral and multilateral foreign investment agreements that Chile maintains.
During this past semester, I took courses in Latin American history, international economics, and the politics of armed conflict, along with a required Woodrow Wilson task force on crime and human rights in Chile. Also, my internship serves my studies because it involves international relations.
I am very interested in public service, and I hope to pursue a career in the U.S. foreign service. I would also be interested in working for an international NGO [nongovernmental organization] or the UN. The internship in the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives me the experience of working in the public sector.
The task force on crime and human rights issues in Chile was very memorable. It was our responsibility to research a current crime prevention policy and make policy recommendations to the Chilean government. I enjoyed this task force for two reasons. Firstly, I enjoyed immersing myself in the research and interviewing various government officials. Secondly, the task force was a great chance to work alongside other Chilean students (the class had four Chileans and four Princeton students). It was a fun cultural and language exchange. Our professor was also very welcoming.