Bella Basile ’21 was intrigued when she first learned about the internship program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (https://www.fpri.org/about) in 2019, yet she overlooked it because it was intended for college students. That was until one day in February 2020 when she decided to put doubt aside, take a risk, and submit an application. After waiting four months, she finally received an email asking her if she would be interested in having an interview; one week later she began her internship with the Department of Eurasia Policy and Research. Fast forward to January 2021, Bella is continuing her internship with the FPRI as her H-Term project.
“When I finished my summer internship in the middle of August, I knew if I had the chance, I would want to continue the amazing opportunity and further my understanding of this field of study,” states Bella. “It was such a life-changing and truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that I did not want to pass up any time that I could spend learning from it!”
While Bella has always had an interest in government and global affairs, prior to working at FRPI she did not have much knowledge of, or interest in, international relations or foreign policy. In fact, she was worried it would be boring. She quickly learned this internship would be anything but that.
“By having this first-hand immersion into the world of international policy and affairs, it has truly opened my eyes to my passion to work in this field in the future,” remarks Bella. “At FPRI, I have been able to sit in on meetings with ambassadors, professors, and representatives from all over the world; to research and write; and immerse myself into the world of Eurasian policy and foreign affairs.”
Working remotely from her home, Bella reports directly to the Eurasian Deputy Director and Research Fellow. Her typical schedule is Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to noon; however, she sometimes works longer hours depending on if she is needed to attend meetings. Much of her time is spent researching, writing reports, taking notes, and completing other administrative work to help her supervisor with her own research, writing, or policy recommendations.
“My boss’s work focuses specifically on the geopolitics of the Black Sea-Caucasus region, democratization and authoritarian backsliding in the post-Soviet space, and Russian foreign policy,” explains Bella.
While she is busy immersing herself in her daily tasks, Bella is also learning a great deal about the complex history and context surrounding the current issues and conflicts in that region of the world. Having a better understanding of this history is critical for the important work she is doing at FPRI.
“There is so much depth and background history behind all aspects of a specific issue that one needs to truly grasp to be able to come to an understanding of the reasons for it and what repercussions it might have on the region, the people in that region, and on the global scale,” states Bella. “I've found the more time I've spent working for FPRI, the easier it has become to reach those conclusions and understanding.”
Bella has thoroughly enjoyed her work with FRPI and is grateful to have had the opportunity to enhance her knowledge of this field.
“I have truly loved everything about this experience,” remarks Bella. “From researching to writing my own articles to having the opportunity to immerse myself into the field of study, it has been such a remarkable opportunity.”