My name is Ayyad Algabyali and I am currently a Gilman Ambassador for 2020-2021. I received the Gilman Scholarship for my internship at the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the year of 2018.
While interning abroad at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia, I learned many skills including: time management, multitasking, adaptability, teamwork, and strengthening my Arabic skills (and practicing the Saudi dialect.) These skills and my experience helped shape the person I am today; I was able to confirm my interest in pursuing a career in diplomacy. For instance, upon returning to the United States after I successfully completed my internship, I continued my undergraduate studies while taking on a role with a prominent community organization called the Yemeni-American Merchants Association as Advocacy Director. I managed both schoolwork and the nonprofit world. I was able to deliver and complete tasks successfully.
Another skill I learned while interning abroad through the Gilman International Scholarship was adaptability. I was able to adjust to a new culture and setting. I was able to try new foods, travel, communicate in a different language and dialect (I speak Yemeni dialect) and most importantly follow embassy guidance with regards to work and safety. In addition, I had to adapt to a work schedule that I was not used to. I also had to take on different roles and responsibilities in different sections such as the Consular, Political and Management sections. These responsibilities helped me strengthen my adaptability to work in different settings and teams.
Moreover, I had the opportunity to exercise my professional language skills with Arabic speaking individuals, especially in the Consular section. I also gained experience by working directly with people, which significantly improved my communication skills.
In conclusion, interning abroad through the State Department Internship Program at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia, with the generous support of the Gilman International Scholarship, gave me the opportunity to learn effective skills needed for professional development and a deeper understanding and passion for foreign policy and international relations.