Updated: Nov 15, 2019
By: Sinthya Ridderstaat
Before sharing how this internship came to be a blessing in disguise, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sinthya Ridderstaat, a passionate person always looking for a challenge and opportunities to grow. I graduated from the program Organization Governance and Management in November of 2018.
Before my graduation, I saw that there was an opportunity for an internship at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in DC. After applying and having the interview I was not confident that I would get the internship. Approximately a week after graduating, I received an email stating that the internship was mine and if I was still up for it. I had a difficult decision to make not only financially but personally as well, I had to decide between a once in a lifetime career opportunity or grieving the loss of a loved one at home. After consulting with my family and partner I decided to go for it.
I started the internship on January 16, 2018 knowing that this would be a challenge and I was ready for it. Those who know me can attest to the fact that I am not a shy person. However, I held back quite a lot during the first months of the internship because it was not the setting I was used to, until I was met with the first challenge.
The first challenge was to plan a whole week’s worth of business meetings for the Minister Plenipotentiary. Even though I had never planned a business trip before, I was pleased that it was successful and that she met her goal with the meetings.
Another challenge was preparing for visits of the Aruban delegation for the IMF and World Bank’s 2019 Spring Meetings. Assisting in the preparation of paperwork as well as making sure the delegation was on time for their meetings. This event allowed me to further improve my planning and communication skills.
The internship also allowed me to experience various events that changed my perspective and confirmed what role I want to have in my community. I was able to experience the moment where representatives from various countries around the world pledged to help Venezuela with the humanitarian aid crisis at the Organization of American States. This was an example of how countries could come together to assist another country in need when and if the will and power is there to do so.
I also had the opportunity to experience the United Nations 63rd Conference on the Status of Women in New York City. During this event I was excited to see women from all over the world and different walks of life, commit themselves to improving women’s rights and future through laws and policies. It was also an extraordinary experience, especially because for the first time in Aruban history we have a woman as our Prime Minister. Sharing this experience with Aruba’s Prime Minister made me proud to be from a country where we have many strong women leading various organizations.
This internship enforced my resilience, resourcefulness, and creativity. It empowered me to embrace change, to embrace my inner diplomat and strengthened my values. Living in Washington, DC and working at the Embassy I was able to gain a new respect for diplomats. I gained a new understanding of how bureaucracy influences daily politics and how important it is to place the right people at the right place especially at such a high level of governance.
If you were to ask me how DC was a miracle in disguise, I would answer by saying; even when life takes you through dark times there will always be light along the road to keep you moving.
I am especially grateful to the Minister Plenipotentiary, Joselin Croes, for being a great mentor to me throughout the internship and my stay in DC. I am grateful to the office of Aruba at the Embassy in DC for giving me this opportunity and making this experience a future career option.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.