When junior diplomacy major Ariadna Padron Di Bello stepped inside the Panama Maritime Authority headquarters in Panama City, she hoped to step out with her very first internship, and she did.
The Panama Maritime Authority is a government-based organization that registers ships before they go out to sea. Panama is the No. 1 registry in the world with more than 6,000 ships and is responsible for managing the registry of all Panamanian ships.
“The registration of a ship is the equivalent of a passport to a person,” Di Bello said. “It ensures that the ship, its crew and its content is safe to sail and arrive to other ports.”
Di Bello said this internship, based in New York City, is teaching her on-the-job responsibilities such as punctuality and how to form professional relationships.
“The connections I’m making are more than I thought they could be,” she said. “My co-workers are often in contact with consuls, ambassadors and even ambassadors to the UN that hopefully I’ll get to meet.”
Di Bello said that typically, her internship has two different types of days; some are geared toward staff education and others toward building experience. On educational days, her boss teaches the staff about a certain business-related topics such as the International Maritime Organization, according to Di Bello. On experience-building days, Di Bello said she rotates shadowing different members of the staff to learn about their specific role in the organization and to help complete on-the-job tasks.
“I feel like this internship has opened the doors for me to go exactly down the path I want to follow in international relations,” Di Bello said.
Originally from Panama, Di Bello received a four-year student visa to study in the United States at Seton Hall. She said the internship is teaching her things she never knew about her motherland.
“Seeing how such a small country like Panama can have a huge role in international trade and business makes me even prouder to be Panamanian,” Di Bello said.
Lindsay Ireland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.