TOP 09 Political Party
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David Spiller

Major: International Relations, Criminology
Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I have followed the party for quiet a while, so when I started looking for internships I stumbled upon their internship and educational program online. The program is called TOP-AZ and is supported by the Top 09 Political party in the Czech Republic.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience was great; I got to take a first look at the inner workings of a political party, something of great interest to me both in an academic and extracurricular manner. The internship was located in the party headquarters in a great location in Prague. I was given tasks ranging from folding election pamphlets to meeting top politicians in the Czech Republic. A lot of the work consisted of data organization in Excel. It was great to be able to sit in on the weekly meetings of the different departments working within the party. During my internship I worked with the media department, educational department, and also the campaign manager. One memorable instance was when I had to listen to and transcribe leaked recordings of a politician who is being investigated for corruption; the transcribed script was to be used in a parliamentary investigation committee.

This internship experience allowed me to look into the workings of a political party and gave me a practical experience of what to expect when I venture into that career path.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this internship had a positive impact on me. I gained practical experience by working within a political party and seeing what it is like under the campaigns and presentation in the media. I got to witness political structuring firsthand. I also applied skills that I have picked up while at Penn State, such as the Excel work that I did and my knowledge of party structure and politics as a whole. The internship also motivated me academically as it has pushed me to start strong in the new semester and bring some of the skills with me. Although the internship was not focused solely on academics, it was truly a great learning experience in which I gained new skills such as transcribing, participating in political discussion, and visiting round-table debates and talks at several NGOs.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goal is to eventually work in politics as an elected representative. However, beforehand I am considering attending law school and practicing law or political/business consulting. Going into politics is more of a long-term goal, and in the Czech political system it is common to go into politics from the working sector after couple of years of work experience. With the current job market, I am not looking to be extremely selective when it comes to my career after graduating college, but instead will be looking to utilize my skills and gain important work experience in a field that interests me, such as business consulting or marketing. A Penn State degree provides a massive competitive advantage in my home country, the Czech Republic, so I am hopeful that with the right steps I can achieve success and eventually work up to my long-term goal. This internship experience allowed me to look into the workings of a political party and gave me a practical experience of what to expect when I venture into that career path.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students, but because I doubt that many of them speak Czech, I would recommend for them to do it in their respective languages. I would recommend this type of internship for Liberal Arts students because the skills we pick up in the College of the Liberal Arts greatly resonate with and apply to other internships similar to mine.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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