Intern Margaux Arnston

With my internship at the World Trade Center coming to a close, I have had more time to reflect on my time here and the many ways the center has impacted me. I came here on my first day with a mix of emotions. I was excited, of course, to take my passion for international relations and trade that I had developed in the classroom and finally put it to good use in the real world. I was also nervous; Would I be able to make a lasting impact at the WTCTA in only a few short months? Would I fit in here? I was nervous about rising up to the challenge. I knew how important the WTCTA’s work was in facilitating trade in the Pacific Northwest and around the world, and I wasn’t sure if my skills would actually translate effectively here.

All of these nerves and worries evaporated in the first 30 minutes in the office. After meeting Teri, Louise, and other interns, I quickly dove right into meaningful work. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions because I knew right away just how much curiosity was valued here. One of the moments that will stick with me for a long time was an interaction I had with my supervisor, Teri. Right away on the first day she asked me, “What are YOU interested in?” She was keenly interested in how she could help me develop my interests during my time here. Never before had someone I’d worked for been so interested in developing the work environment to fit my passions. The kindness and care for me from the others working here translated into meaningful work during my internship. I got projects tailored to my passion for Western Europe and the European Union. Much of the research I did was on trade markets in Continental Europe. I was given the freedom to explore facets of trade that I’d never seen before. Not only this, but my research skills improved dramatically. I learned how to effectively use databases or order to get the most relevant and accurate trade information. These skills are ones that I will take back with me to school in the fall, and use often for various research projects and papers I complete next year. Not only that, but they will be useful in any professional career path I choose after graduation.

Outside of the work, I found myself a part of a fun-loving and light-hearted group of people that care deeply for the work they do. From weekly trips to the farmer’s market, to after-hours chats, the people around me were the ones that made me wake up in the morning excited and motivated to get to the office. I was surrounded people that were passionate about their work, and that made me all the more excited to be a part of the center.

Looking back, I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding experience. I was given the freedom to learn at my own pace, and enough responsibility to feel like I really mattered here. My internship at the World Trade Center of Tacoma has made a lasting impression on me as a student and a professional and I now have skills that I will keep and cherish for the rest of my life.