Virtual Student Foreign Service
The Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) is a U.S. Department of State program that allows American college and university students to virtually intern at State Department domestic offices and U.S. diplomatic posts abroad.
The Virtual Student Foreign Service was announced by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in May 2009. The program is one of several in Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft initiative. Twenty-first Century Statecraft is defined as, “[t]he complementing of traditional foreign policy tools with newly innovated and adapted instruments of statecraft that fully leverage the networks, technologies, and demographics of our interconnected world.” VSFS partners with U.S. diplomatic posts overseas and State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the U.S. Commercial Service domestic offices to provide virtual internship opportunities.
The first virtual internship year coincided with the 2009-2010 academic year.
Internships begin in the fall and end in the spring. Students commit for the academic year, contributing 10 hours a week for the virtual internship. Students communicate with their supervisors often through email, telephone, and Skype.
The nature of work varies depending on what the embassy, consulate, or domestic office needs. The work may be research-based where the student is required to contribute to reports on issues such as economics, the environment, and human rights, or the work may be technology-focused, such as creating blogs and producing electronic journals. Language skills are sometimes required.
Students apply in the summer through the USAJobs.gov website. In the application, students may choose from a list of available projects, selecting three in their order of preference. eInterns must be U.S. citizens.
- Government crowdsourcing
- Virtual Student Foreign Service – U.S. Department of State
- Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) 2011-2012 eIntern Positions – U.S. Department of State
- Frequently Asked Question – U.S. Department of State
- "Remarks at the New York University Commencement Ceremony". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "21st Century Statecraft". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 27 March 2012.